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Owen Fan
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Over the past 6 months I've learned to never underestimate the engineering complexity of seemingly simple software systems. It's interesting to see an analog in hardware.
Paper jams are a problem which will very likely never go away so long as we have anything even vaguely resembling printers. They occur because a printer has to take a highly variable material — different paper stocks, made from different kinds of wood, in different ways — and do tremendously damaging things to it (heat, liquid, electric charge, tension) at high speeds, while still moving everything with perfect precision.

This article takes you in to some of that story, and of why paper path engineering remains one of the great "dark arts" of the computing world: remarkably specialized, remarkably challenging, and guaranteed never to be solved.

Via +Lauren Weinstein .
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I assumed the center console lid would be purely mechanical. Nope...
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Drove from a hotel in Des Moines, Iowa to a hotel in North Platte, Nebraska on almost exactly one tank of gas yesterday. Based on the car's range estimate, which showed that I'd still have 40 miles to spare, and knowing that there's no mountain on the route so the mpg wouldn't change much, I charged forward without refueling on the way. It worked out nicely—the low fuel indicator lit up just as I pulled into the gas station right next to the destination hotel. It's fun to feel as if I'm living life dangerously, knowing fully well it's most likely very safe.

I am moving to the bay area from Pittsburgh by car. It's weird to think about how my car and the things packed inside now constitute the entirety of the physical things I own.
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Going off grid for another 10-day meditation course, ending on 6/18.

Previous experience: https://fanqiuwen.com/vipassana-experience/
I will disappear from the Internet for ten days to attend a Vipassana meditation retreat in Michigan, starting tomorrow afternoon. I have not gone more than a week without connectivity since elementary school, so this should be fun.
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Best illustration I've seen explaining the infamous dress [1]. Similar to the spinning dancer illusion [2], it was a fun exercise to train my brain into being able to switch the perceived colors at will with this image: https://i.imgur.com/4ojzKlX.png

via https://www.reddit.com/r/geek/comments/69lx5e/same_color_illusion/
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dress
[2] https://fanqiuwen.com/+/posts/95Ducg5ojzG
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I made a website/blog at fanqiuwen.com.

While I've owned the domain name for a few years now, I'd only been utilizing a single subdomain for dynamic DNS [1] to find my own computer. (Google Domains is a great combination of feature completeness, appealing UI, and ease of use.)

I didn't feel like I needed a blog because Google+ worked well for me. I could share stuff I'm interested in and occasionally write a longer post that might actually be useful to someone, which they could find through Google search.

But I recently noticed that my old Google+ posts are not indexed by Google anymore. I remember a point in time where Google+ posts were featured prominently in search results, complete with the profile picture of the author. This is no longer the case, and old posts, despite having a stable permalink, simply fall out of the index altogether if they are not being linked anywhere.

This is why I decided to create a blog to host the more involved posts I wrote—mainly to increase their discoverability. It has the added benefit of being easier to read—no more footnote-styled links!

Some features of the blog:

- It uses the static site generator Hugo (gohugo.io) to turn my markdown-formatted posts into HTML.

- I didn't find any truly minimalist Hugo theme to my liking, so I wrote my own layout files. The goal is to use semantically meaningful HTML whenever possible, and use a minimal amount of CSS to style the website according to Material Design guidelines on typography [2] and colors [3].

- The RSS feed contains the full text of the posts, so those who are picky about the style of their reading material can easily use a reader on the unstyled content.

- It's hosted using Firebase hosting [4]. It exceeded my expectations by being super easy to set up, while providing free custom-domain SSL and no lack of advanced features [5] such as redirects and customizable HTTP headers.

[1] https://support.google.com/domains/answer/6147083
[2] https://material.io/guidelines/style/typography.html
[3] https://material.io/guidelines/style/color.html
[4] https://firebase.google.com/docs/hosting/
[5] https://firebase.google.com/docs/hosting/url-redirects-rewrites
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While I still haven't given up entirely on taking photos using DSLRs as a hobby, Pixel's camera made me realize how advances in computation [1] could compensate for the limitations in optical hardware and create a net increase in user experience. Pixel complemented the computational photography software [2] with a dedicated digital signal processing chip [3] to create results that are a giant leap from previous iterations, finally—after more than three years, an executive departure, and a product line change—fulfilling Gundotra's promise on delivering an "insanely great camera" [4].

So it's great to see Google Research pushing new boundaries on what's possible with the smartphone camera. If the proof of concept shown in this post can be automated, night photography might just be the last type of photography where I hesitantly abandon my DSLR and opt for simply using the phone.

[1]: https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/18/13315168/google-pixel-camera-software-marc-levoy
[2]: https://research.googleblog.com/2014/10/hdr-low-light-and-high-dynamic-range.html
[3]: https://developer.qualcomm.com/software/hexagon-dsp-sdk/dsp-processor
[4]: http://www.androidcentral.com/google-senior-vp-vic-gundotra-comments-nexus-camera-quality
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CMU Carnival 2017

Long-term, active followers of my Google+ (of which I'm not sure there is more than one) might acutely observe that last year's photos [1] were better in almost every way—composition, CMU-ness, accompanied text... Life lesson: if you're cold and trying to rush through long-exposure shots, you don't get very good photos.

[1] https://fanqiuwen.com/+/posts/gUE6YiCnYJU
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"Spacebar is capslock" cracked me up. This is very close to what happens when people need to use my laptop "for just a sec" during group project discussions. My keyboard is still covered with the blank stickers I got in high school [1], and I use the Colemak keyboard layout [2], where capslock is backspace. On the flip side whenever I need to use someone else's computer "for just a sec" I'm often seen turning capslock on and off repeatedly.

Source: https://xkcd.com/1806/
[1] https://fanqiuwen.com/+/posts/RxgKoPkzvXD
[2] https://fanqiuwen.com/+/posts/bs9EtKVG4ye
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