This is my 2003 journal.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug
Also available: 2002 2001 2000 1990s 1980s
Everything on this page:
Copyright 1985-2003 by Thane Plambeck, except where obviously not.
31 January 2003
The Talisman: IQ Zoo
A mysterious token [front] [back] that I found at a garage sale.
If it doesn't have magical powers, I can't imagine what would.
29 January 2003
The Tech Downturn
In Dublin, Ohio, this.
On Twin Dolphin Drive in Silicon Valley, this.
25 January 2003
The key of Bor perhaps G#
Five sharps, each one of them critically important to the beauty of the universe, as Schubert proves (in a mere twenty measures) in the third movement of piano Sonata D.894 (the triomolto ligato, please).
It's hardly a just universe that permits a mortal piano hack to play music like that. I feel like I'm pissing on God when I screw it up.
Looks like I marked all four movements as "playable" in the spreadsheet (or scroll down a bit on this page).
23 January 2003
Gauss as a Ph.D. advisor
Content copied from http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Gauss.html:
Two of Gauss's last doctoral students were Moritz Cantor and Dedekind. Dedekind wrote a fine description of his supervisor
... usually he sat in a comfortable attitude, looking down, slightly stooped, with hands folded above his lap. He spoke quite freely, very clearly, simply and plainly: but when he wanted to emphasise a new viewpoint ... then he lifted his head, turned to one of those sitting next to him, and gazed at him with his beautiful, penetrating blue eyes during the emphatic speech. ... If he proceeded from an explanation of principles to the development of mathematical formulas, then he got up, and in a stately very upright posture he wrote on a blackboard beside him in his peculiarly beautiful handwriting: he always succeeded through economy and deliberate arrangement in making do with a rather small space. For numerical examples, on whose careful completion he placed special value, he brought along the requisite data on little slips of paper.
21 Jan 2003
The Tech Downturn
An anonymous out-of-work friend in Silicon Valley writes:
I have been through a couple of recruiters and have made some progress there. But there just are not many opportunities. I'm working every angle I know, and have contacted over 1,000 companies and recruiters. I came in 3rd (out of 120) in a high profile search for an Oakland based software company in December, but lost out to a guy who had taken a company from $600k to $60M. Couldn't fault the search team for that.I replied:
1,000 companies! That is amazing and scary. I would like to see more of the bogus companies die more quickly (they seem to linger much more long than is necessary or desireable, and thereby slowing the 'recovery' in my opinion). I guess when you're a VC and have sunk millions into many different companies, it's hard to accept that (in many cases) each and every one of those companies is bogus. Instead the VC "consolidate" around one bogus company, and let it linger. I could name 50 companies, founded in the boom time yet that I'm sure will die or alternatively have to change radically to survive, and it is early 2003, a good two years after a reasonable outsidersuch as myself (ahem!)can judge the company to be stupid.
21 Jan 2003
Beethoven Prefigured: Finale, Haydn Symphony 70 (1778)
[It] is truly a tour-de-force. Its main theme is based on a single repeated note motif: the advantage of this is that it can be used not only as a melodic fragment, but also as an accompaniment figure and as a fugal 'tag' (the logical conclusion of this is the Scherzo of Beethoven's Ninth Symphonysince the notes are all the same, even the drums can play the figure). And this is exactly what Haydn does with it. After a short homophonic introduction, the 'tag' becomes one of the subjects in a remarkable triple fugue with the repeated notes being deployed in all permuations...David A. Threaser, notes to Adam Fischer Haydn Symphony recordings, Vol 5, Nimbus Records (2000) [MP3] (2.91 Mb)
20 Jan 2003
Owen Sledding at Goat Meadow, near the Mariposa Grove
16 Jan 2003
Emerson String Quartet
emerson string quartet
To: Ray Jones
To: Thane Plambeck
14 Jan 2003
A 2nd Grade Homework Exercise
Read this poem. The spelling words are underlined.
I'd rather meet
The Tree Down the Street
13 Jan 2003
Hush Now, Don't Explain (1954)
Helen Merrill and Clifford Brown
Release Date: 01/01/1955
Original Release Date: 12/22/1954
Also available on CD 8 of Clifford Brown, Brownie.
13 Jan 2003
A photo of my neighbor, the physicist Leonard Susskind, lecturing this evening on the double slit experiment in a night class on Quantum Mechanics at Stanford.
More on Susskind [Jan 2002]
12 Jan 2003
Idiot's Guide to the Schubert Piano Sonatas
I made a spreadsheet (PDF) that shows, for each Schubert Sonata:
1) Opus NumberThe idea here is that you can listen to a Sonata, find its music, and/or locate which ones are easier to play, all in a few moments.
For example, using the spreadsheet, you can see that I don't think any of the movements in the D784 (A minor) are easy to play, while in that in D958, movements 2, 3, and 4 (Adagio, Allegro, and Adagio) are supposed to be easier to play.
The little exclamation points draw attention to parts that I think are particularly nice to try.
11 Jan 2003
Weapons of Mass Spamming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military has begun an e-mail campaign urging military and civilian leaders in Iraq to turn away from President Saddam Hussein as the Pentagon builds forces for a possible invasion of the country, defense officials said on Saturday. Visitors to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, confirmed the electronic mail campaign, part of a psychological war mounted by elite U.S. Special Operations who also have been broadcasting messages from planes over the past month...
9 Jan 2003
Tech Day I: Sly Cooper & Grand Theft Auto
Bruce Oberg slyly bought and installed a Sony Playstation at our San Francisco loft space when he stayed there in December. I only discovered it this morning. He also left us copies of his company's game, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, and also Grand Theft Auto III.
9 Jan 2003
TechDay II: New Digital Camera
While at the Metreon, I couldn't resist buying a new digital camera, a Sony DSC-P9. Jim Hsu and I opened the box in his office at the San Francisco Symphony (Davies Hall), then he charged the battery for me as I listened to Liszt, Schnittke, and Schumann upstairs.
When I got back, the camera was ready to take its first picture.
That's Jim peeking out at the bottom. It's not Schnittke in the foreground, although I think there may be a certain resemblance.
Note added 14 Jan 2002: Jim pointed out that this page is up on his computer screen in the photo. With Jim on the far right.
Note added 15 Jan 2002: Come to think of it, Jim does have a certain way of hovering at the perimeter of photographs (Bacar Restaurant, San Francisco).
9 January 2003
Tech Day III: MPEG shot by Sony DSC-P9
The new digital camera takes MPEG format movies at low resolution.
The answer to the question posed here is "Yes".
7 Jan 2003
2002 Christmas Card
Here. Sorry it's so late.
1 Jan 2003
Jacque Deerr-Lord's Bobwatch
Quicktime (915 kb)
US Dept of Interior, Dept of Surface Mining
On Sunday, 27 October 2002, Bob Lord, a 37 year-old Palo Alto software entrepeneur and Caltech graduate, fell 30+ feet down a abandoned mine shaft near Jean, Nevada, about 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas.
He was searching for a clue in The Game, a yearly high-tech treasure hunt of sorts that is organized by current and former employees of Microsoft Corporation. I've competed in it a couple of timesalthough not in 2002on the "Purple" team. Bob was competing on the "Plaid" team at the time of the accident. He was rescued from the mineshaft and airlifted to a hospital in Las Vegas.
Bob's wife, Jacque Deerr-Lord, started sending daily updates on Bob's condition to an email list called Bobwatch. She chronicled the aftermath of this awful accident over the next two months.
I've copied over the Bobwatch email archive to this web site. I think Jacque's writing is absolutely gripping, although it is not for the faint of heart.