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Dr Gordon Freeman spotting

I swear I'm sitting directly opposite this guy. And he is not looking impressed. Traveling for 20 hours, I guess he's wishing those teleportation experiments had worked out a bit better.

Half-Life® 2

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Sitting on the floor, tethered to the wall

At every conference I've attended during my professional career, one fixture has been ever present: the cluster of people -- usually sitting on the floor in a hallway -- tethered to a short supply of wall outlet charging their laptops.

One can only help this scene will soon become a quaint relic of history.

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An afternoon in Singapore

I arrived in Singapore this morning where I'll be attending SIGIR 2008. There looks to be quite a few interesting papers and workshops so I think the next week will be quite interesting.

Meanwhile, since my original flight which was due to happen tomorrow was canceled, I caught an earlier one and got to spend some time today exploring. It's warm and humid here (not the punishing 100 degree heat I recall from last time) but I think my miles walked to pints sweated ratio was about 3:1 which is reasonable. I walked down the river, around the Parliament and Court buildings, over to Raffles Landing and Raffles City and a meandering walk back.

Singapore is a fascinating place. It has some similarity to many of the countries in this region -- Thailand, China, Malaysia, but it's much cleaner (no trash or graffiti), far more polite (definitely no spitting) and still has hints of the Empire (driving on the left, British wall plugs, written English everywhere).

Despite the "Death for drug traffickers under Singapore law" red text on the welcome form and some not-so-subtle signage, everything feels remarkably safe and friendly.

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More photos to follow but since I entirely missed Thursday July 17 this year, it's now time to catch up on some sleep.

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Rome wasn't built in a day

One has to take all of these numbers with a grain of salt, but still...

MSN/Live Only Major Search Engine with Higher Volume in June

No matter what the pundits say, the new Microsoft Cashback program along with some continued efforts on other marketing programs such as Club Live seem to have worked in June. MSN/Live search was the only major engine in June to post higher volumes of search queries. Everyone else, including the big dog Google (GOOG), saw a decline. This seems even more impressive when you put this in the context of the overall search market. Overall search query volume in the market declined nearly 5% m-o-m, from 9.6 billion in May to 9.1 billion in June.
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The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers

In the last six months I've re-stumbled upon a resource I've had for a long time but have little used: O'Reilly's Safari Books Online. While reading books in a web format is really no substitute for holding a bound paper volume in your hands, it does make it far easier to taste books that might otherwise get skipped.

Most recently, I've been spending some time reading The DAM Book. By one means or another I've generally managed to work out systems for storing data that seem to hold up for a while but when you're talking about preserving things for potentially 50 years in digital format, there's no harm in taking a look into how others are doing it. I learned quite a few things that I do plan to incorporate into my habits including a systematic workflow, copious tagging, rating and flagging and DNG conversion. I would recommend the book.

Aside: I graduated college with 2,000 pictures which was, to me, mind-blowing, mainly because the memory card in my Fujifilm DX-7 filled up around at around 25 640x480 images and each set drained a full charge of four AA batteries. These days I'm somewhere north of 15,000 and the pace of acquisition is only increasing.

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