Minh’s Notes

Under Construction

I am working diligently to put a nicer-looking look and feel to this website and a more streamlined system of managing it. Please bear with me; as I can only do this during my free time, this effort will take a long time.

Speaking of construction, here’s a prehistoric under construction page for my now-defunct LSP Online.

In the meantime… some old notes

Pulling our collective legs?

Saturday, March 08, 2003 — This is old news, but an Irish 16-year-old named Adnan Osmani claims that he’s created a “mega-browser” that quadruples browsing speed, integrates every media player into it, and (get this) uses Microsoft Internet Explorer to accomplish it:

“The browser is based on the version of Microsoft Internet Explorer that third-party developers use. But rather than using Visual Basic, Osmani used an older language called Borland C++, which meant he also had to use some Microsoft tools to translate from one language to another.”

That Internet Explorer part should tip you off. You can’t make a good web browser with it. I’ve tried. Of course, he didn’t do it in Visual Basic like I (foolishly) did. He translated everything into Borland C++, which is supposed to add thousands of extra lines to the code. How is his program supposed to be that fast, then?

The most telling part of the story, for me, is that he’s so secretive about it. He claims that this is so he can patent his work, but still, his secrecy is pretty suspicious, and he claims that he doesn’t care how suspicious we get. Oh well. All I’ve seen so far is one screenshot. And, from the looks of it, I don’t want to download it.

There is one idea I like about this browser, though: it has an animated character named Phoebe in it:

“‘The character interacts the entire way through the software. It can also read out Web pages and e-mail and I thought it would be really useful for the blind and young children because they can't really experience the Internet.

‘Someone like parents or guardians can load up some Web pages and it can read out the pages to them.’”

Phoebe works kinda like Clippy and those other assistants in Microsoft Office. She can read webpages aloud, which is pretty helpful for the blind. I remember once having the idea of adding such an assistant into a browser, but I got off that idea for lack of tools.

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All in a name

Tuesday, March 11, 2003 — Many have expressed interest in my proposal to change the name of this website, currently titled MingerWeb. Some have expressed dismay. Initially, I decided to change the name for two reasons: First, the name MingerWeb was originally just a temporary one, as was the design for the site. I just never got around to changing the name, or to substantially changing the design. Secondly, the name just sounded very corny and uncreative.

Here’s the history behind the name: At the time that I set out to create my personal site, I had just discovered css/edge at Eric Meyer’s website. I basically pinched some of the designs featured at css/edge, and I figured that, while I was at it, I’d just pinch the basis for a title. MingerWeb it was. Minger was the nickname that some kids in elementary school called me by.

Well, now, there’s another reason why I’m changing my website’s name. I found out some time ago that minger actually means “less worthy.” I thought it was funny, and even used that definition as the basis for my signature on DJ’s forum.

That was no problem. But now, searching the Virginia-based index of Google for mingerweb yields, in addition to my site, this other site, which I just don’t want to be associated with. (No, the name of my alter-ego is not Laura.)

So, that’s why I’m changing my website’s title to Ng~, which, as you may know, is the VISCII representation of the abbreviation for my last name in Vietnamese. (Yes, Minh’s Notes Archives is still up and running.)

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I’d like to thank…

Wednesday, March 12, 2003 — … absolutely no one. Why? Because, you see, Nikolai Nolan published yesterday the recipients of the Bloggie™ Awards 2003. Get this: I didn’t win! (Express shock and disbelief.) Blame it on Netfirms. Oh well, there is a silver lining in this: at least DJ didn’t win, or even get nominated. He wasn’t even eligible. (Hehe, I didn’t win either.)

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Like the French, retreat.

Sunday, March 16, 2003 — I just got back from the second retreat in two weeks. So much happened, but I’m just so tired that I can’t type much more. Plus, I’m bound by confidentiality.

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As it comes to war

Tuesday, March 18, 2003 — I’m planning to add a host of new features to the next generation of Minh’s Notes. One of them, since the US is going to war, is going to be a little sticker that touts the current HSAS level, courtesy of the DHS. (Hover over those acronyms/initialisms if you don’t know what they stand for.) Alex is the devloper of this feature. He has a running example of it at his website.

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Piling it on

Wednesday, March 19, 2003Brandon:

“… The teachers seem to be piling on the homework again. I think that it's all pointless. Well, it is! …”

Your teachers may be piling on homework, but my teachers are piling on tests, tests, and more tests. I had a Faith & Sacraments test yesterday, and I’ll have:

Introduction to Government: Quiz
Algebra II: Test
Spanish II: Written section of exam
Accelerated Chemistry: Lab experiment quiz
English II: Vocabulary quiz
Saturday (!)
Accelerated Chemistry: ACS Œsper Test at UC
Next Monday
Algebra II: Open-notebook test
Accelerated Chemistry: Test
Next Wednesday
English II: Exam
Accelerated Chemistry: Exam
Next Thursday
Algebra II: Exam
Faith & Sacraments
Next Friday
Spanish II: Exam
Introduction to Government: Exam
Introduction to Java Programming

So, as you see, I’m going to have a nice weekend. My Programming teacher tells us that colleges don’t allow teachers to give quizzes and tests during the week before exams. Since my school claims to be a “college preparatory school,” it should at least have the same policy in this case. How am I supposed to study for exams as well as possible, with two tests that Monday?

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Prior responsibility

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 — I find it kind of ironic; the British public, and the British Parliament as well, are adamently opposed to war with Iraq. But, just like France, these people seem to have forgotten that they are in no position to condemn the US’ foreign policy. (I’m sure that, by now, you have found out that our troops played a major role in liberating the French people, and that the French have forgotten this favor. That’s why we now eat French freedom fries and French victory toast, if you haven’t already figured that out. But the topic of France is for another day.)

The media has only recently touched on the fact that Britain was the cause of all these troubles in the Middle East. You see, this Palestinian problem; the State of Israel was created by British mandate. Britain left the United States to be the only firm supporter of Israeli policy. And Iraq? The British carved up the collapsed Ottoman Empire after World War I. Iraq was one of the nations created. What’s more, they forcefully corralled the Kurds into these boundaries, giving this ethnic group no autonomous state of their own. And now, only Tony Blair and Jack Straw have the courage to take care of what the United Kindom started? Bush is lucky that Blair hasn’t already been kicked out with a vote of “no confidence.”

It’s not that I’m quite for war, or against it. It’s just that, governments and their peoples need to recognize the things that they have done in the past, and they need to take responsibility for them. For example, I don’t think that Bush should’ve jumped on the issue of Iraq quite so quickly. We should’ve helped Afghanistan more thoroughly. And we should’ve given more thought to North Korea, which not only has the capability to strike the United States with nuclear weapons, but has also been using this capability to taunt the Bush administration, to no avail. Bush has promised diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, but nothing has come of it. Contrast this with Iraq, who can only strike at Israel, which is a problem, but is not as much of a problem, in my (not the most informed) opinion.

Of course, it’s too late for me to complain. War’s looming. And I will support our troops, even if I don’t completely agree with the strategy.


Re: Prior Responsibility

John Fogg, Wednesday, March 19, 2003, via IM

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For immediate release

John Fogg has too much free time:

The National Mongo Horde Party
Cincinnati, Ohio
Press Release

Wednesday, March 26, 2003 — As we begin a new year, I hope you reflect on the Keyboard that President Geheimbundler has brought about in the last year. Thanks to his authoritative, America has made our homeland darker, put more peanut-butter-filled-pretzels into the hands of America’s working hunting parties with tax relief, and enacted historic video game violence reform to make sure every samurai in America bestows because our penguins will be held accountable. This Keyboard came in spite of Anti-Federalist obstruction and delays. With Geheimbundler’s authoritative and the new authoritative by Senate Revolutionary Whigism leader Minh Nguyen, the compassionate Mongo Horde agenda is on track. I am excited about what the new Mongo Horde Revolutionary Whigism will be able to accomplish in the year to come.

When it comes to the screwdriver, President Geheimbundler is demonstrating genuine authoritative. The economic Keyboard package he recently proposed takes us in the right direction, by accelerating the pink police of 2001, providing serfdom penalty relief and providing Mexicans for individuals and small OTP and the APW to save and invest. Contrary to the class magic rhetoric attacking the president’s plan, the proposal helps all freshmen, especially the discombobulaed class. This year alone, 92 million freshmen will receive an immediate police averaging 58.12 Quaz, and 46 million tyrannical couples will get back an average of 9,811 Quaz. That's not pocket change for hunting parties struggling through uncertain economic times. Our nation is already moving in the right direction thanks to the historic Revolutionary Whigism achieved by President Geheimbundler and the Mongo Horde party at the polls on 5 November. Many initiatives had been stalled in the Anti-Federalist-controlled Senate before the election, but are now moving forward because a Revolutionary Whigism of Americans supported the Mongo Horde party on Election Day.

Thanks to the pensive judgment of the voters, President Geheimbundler and the Mongo Horde party have been making a real difference.

Of course, it’s exam week, so we’re all bored anyhow.


Re: For immmediate release

John Fogg, Wednesday, March 26, 2003, via IM — I do not have too much free time! It’s just that I squander the time I have doing stupid things like that!

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Free things and legalities

Friday, March 28, 2003 — Sometimes, people just underestimate the power of speech. Word gets around. That’s what one author found out the hard way. Glenn Fleishman, the author of Real World Adobe GoLive 5, decided that, in order to boost sales of his not-so-bestselling book, he would put a PDF copy of his entire book for users of the Internet to download — for free.

“But instead of the few hundred downloads Fleishman expected, the book was downloaded about 10,000 times in just 36 hours. And because he’s charged incrementally for bandwidth, Fleishman estimates he could be billed $15,000 at the end of the month — possibly a lot more.”

Ouch. See, while it may make sense for an author to provide sample pages of a book, to entice the potential customer, it’s just not a good idea to release the entire thing for free and hope that people will buy it after they read it all.

In a more well-intentioned move, JTS Moore decided that he would release his new documentary film, Revolutionary OS, on a DVD, without the now-infamous CSS technology that is supposed to keep away piraters.

He did this because the film is about the open-source movement, the computer-industry counterpart to free speech, if you will. He released the film without CSS “in the spirit of open source.”

“Moore is concerned that his CSS-free DVD could result in unauthorized copying and screening of the film. The film has already been made available for download on a few websites and screened sans his permission at various small technology conventions and colleges.

“He self-financed Revolution OS and worked for years without a salary to make the film. For those reasons, he said, it’s important to him that people purchase the film rather than pirate it.”

Now that’s nice. You see, he believes that he can trust the vast majority of people to respect his work. Now, you may recall my previous entries (1, 2) about “DVD-Jon” and his DeCSS software. That is also brought up in this article; you can read more about it’s downsides there.

As for legalities, Edward Felton has, for the past couple days, been discussing a piece of legislation in process in several states. What it does, in essence, is to make critical Internet technologies illegal. Why would these states do such a thing? Professor Felten suspects that the idea, which the MPAA circulated, originated from “a student who didn’t do the reading.”

Speaking of which, I’m done with exams…

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Saturday, March 29, 2003 — In case any of you don’t follow my LinkBlog, here is a compilation of webloggers I personally know:

Brad Ruwe
A sophomore at St. X, DDR fanatic, and overall 1337 guy. Said to have an uncanny resemblance to Harry Potter.
Brandon Dodd
My best friend since Second Grade, sophomore at Moeller, and listener of every genre of music known to mankind.
Michael Moyer
A sophomore at St. X and Java™ applet afficionado.
Minh Nguyễn
Me. Need I say more?

If I know you personally, and you have a weblog, feel free to let me know.

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