Category Archives: random facts

The changing style of Silicon Valley

line of ants

In the 2007 song by the Richter Scales that tried to capture the zeitgeist of the bubble era, the uniform of the techie was blue shirts and khaki pants. I had 5 or 6 pairs of Khaki pants and 3-5 different blue shirts.

Thanks to Mr. Zuckerberg, the new uniform of the bay area is jeans, hoodie and button down shirt.

As someone who hated the blue shirt, and loves the hoodie … Mr. Zuckerberg I thank you!

The hoodie has become such a fashion statement that fashion designers have taken on making it look better.

For an interesting take on the recent history of the hoodie check this blog post out.


The sign of the time

My son was given a small model SR-71 blackbird. The plane was already pretty beat up because the toy was a hand me down from another toddler.

After having fixed the SR-71 for the fifth time, the writing was on the wall, Nicholas needed a new one.

So I went to and bought him a new plane… And since I was there, I could not resist buying him a model F14 …


A symbol of US military supremacy … built in …



The irony is not lost on me… Our military might, as toys, built in China…



Revolution redeems Hackers

Programmers everywhere still squirm when they remember this scene from Hackers


It was Hollywood’s pathetic attempt to make programming look cool … And it was groan inducing scene.

Over the years my wife and I have taken a certain perverse pleasure in inspecting what code is used on-screen. And over time we have found that the code has gone from nonsense, to recognizable constructs, to valid but irrelevant programs.

The Holy Grail was software on-screen that was correct and relevant.

We have found our Grail. In Revolution, a TV show we like, a character approaches a biometric terminal. On the terminal is code.



And the code is correct and relevant code. It’s software using code from the open biometrics initiative … And just in case the apocalypse does happen you and need some code … here’s the github repo.

My only thought was in the apocalypse, we will have no shortage of C++ programmers  because C++, C++ is the correct answer.


In the wierd shit moment category

In 1995, while I was still a student at Brown University, my parents were visiting the US. They had arrived in Maryland so my dad could accompany a Greek dignitary during the dignitary’s stay at John Hopkins Medical center. My parents wanted me to come to Baltimore to visit them. So I hoped on a plane and flew down for a couple of days.

Oddly enough, another friend of mine was on the plane. She had called up her dad and said she wanted to come home that specific weekend. Her dad asked why, and she said that she just wanted to. To which her dad replied: If my daughter wants to come visit me for a weekend who am I to say no?

Neither of us knew we were flying together but when we bumped into each other at the airport in Providence we decided to sit together and chat.

When we got off of the plane, we were chatting like old friends. I was about to leave the boarding gate so I gave her a hug. At that point, however, I noticed her mother, father and brother staring at the two of us. The young brother’s mouth was open, the father was pale and the mother was freaking out. At the time I weighed 265 pounds, had hair that went below my shoulders and generally looked unkempt. My friend took me to her parents and introduced me. Her dad then promptly grabbed me by the shoulder and started to grill me. My friend, her mother and brother walked significantly slower behind the dad and I. It was only then that I realized what was going on: he thought I was the reason his daughter wanted to come home. And he was worried that I was a recent addition to his family (and worried that he had a grandchild on the way as well….). His daughter was wearing very baggy clothes so…

When I realized what was going on, I promptly said: I’m here to visit my parents, and I am dating someone who is not your daughter.

The father then stopped walking, re-acquired colour in his face, and seemed significantly less interested in knowing who I was, what my career plans were and what my parents did for a living.


It turns out that mamals (of which we humans are a deviant variety) have a predisposition to thinking that big eyes are cute.

Because we think big eyes are cute, we tend to want to protect and nurture things with big eyes.

That may explain, in part, why human eyeballs never change in size as a human child grows up. As a small child, the big eye balls generate a cute reaction by the parent, therefore increasing the likelihood of survival of the child.

So it’s a not a Disney conspiracy. It’s our damnable genes.