Brainwagon Radio: April Fool’s Day and Sweet and Sour Bitter Melon

Where your host talks about his experience with Chinese calligraphy, relates a timely story about MIT hackers Gosper and Greenblatt and their attempts to get a good chinese meal, and reviews a couple of plugins for WordPress.


dynamic-text-replace is a plugin that you can use to automatically insert useful links using simple macros. Check out the documentation, but using it you can create links to Google, Amazon and Flickr searches, such as ::flickr(“chinese”, “this bunch of links to Chinese things on Flickr.”)::

You can read the story I’m talking about in Steve Levy’s ::amazon(“0385312105”, “Hackers“):: or online here. Buy the book though: it was one of my early inspirations.

The Long Slow Ride To Cancellation

Lisa has some comments for the writers on CSI, so I thought I’d pile on with a couple of my own:

  • The original CSI still has the best characters of any of the shows, but they are slipping. Early episodes actually presented them as secondary plot elements, not merely props to advance the plotline. Get back to character development to serve as a stable backdrop. Oh, and CSI: Miami and CSI: NY? Try getting some characters.
  • Mobsters? Boring. Hookers in trouble? Boring. Jealous spouse? Boring. Work on some better angles. The stories of humanity are incredibly varied. Find some of them.
  • Stop using technology as magic. There aren’t magical databases of every shoe ever made. You can’t pull images of license plates from a single bad frame of video taken a quarter of a mile away.
  • Realize that mostly CSI is a show for nerds. Appeal to the nerd sensibility and be smart first, and titilating second.