Mahler 1 and 10 with SFS

April 01 2017

We took in our last San Francisco Symphony concert of the season tonight on April Fool's Day. This was a completely serious affair though, with Mahler's Adagio from the 10th symphony and the 1st symphony. In the end, I'm left only with the affirmation that Mahler is my favorite composer and an inspiration. And I now think that the SFS is the absolute best Mahler orchestra in the US.

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Birthday Date Night with Leonidas Kavakos and the San Francisco Symphony

November 15 2015

Yesterday was my birthday and as celebration, we got a babysitter and did dinner and a concert. It was the first time for just the two of us in quite a few months and certainly very enjoyable. It was also great to take in a concert and from such a great orchestra and soloist. It was my second time seeing the San Francisco Symphony live, but the first time was 15 years ago.

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My Favorite Grantland Pieces

October 31 2015

Grantland is dead. Long live Grantland. Like many others, I was shocked and saddened to see the sudden shutdown of grantland.com yesterday by ESPN. Grantland had become a habit, a way of life and thinking for me. I think the best way to move on is to remember what made this site so special.

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Hiking Mt. Diablo

June 21 2015

I just completed a rare weekend where I had very few obligations and all the time in the world. I originally planned to stay in the bay area this weekend to look at housing rentals. But I quickly found out it's still a little too early for an August move-in date. Instead, I decided to spend Saturday hiking Mt. Diablo and Sunday at Half Moon Bay.

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Beethoven's Ninth in a Brewery

May 31 2015

Earlier today, I took in a very unique and interesting music experience. I saw the Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra, an amateur community orchestra, perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at Southern Pacific Brewing, a microbrewery in the Mission District. It was great to see such as creative and ambitious programming element, especially from a community orchestra. I left the concert a little bit buzzed and with a smile on my face.

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Pinchas Zukerman Recital

May 27 2015

Last night, I saw Pinchas Zukerman performing live for the first time. Zukerman is 66, definitely an advanced age for a concert violinist. Unfortunately, we got very little of the peak Zukerman, who was as close in sound and style to Itzhak Perlman as any violinist. Instead, we got a low energy performance of some fairly bland repertoire material.

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Cross-Region Replication Demo at the San Francisco AWS Summit

April 22 2015

I recently launched Cross-Region Replication for Amazon S3. This was a challenging and complex project for S3. I started working on it in early January 2014, and we finally launched on March 24th, 2015.

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Pocket's Monetization Strategy

April 20 2015

I'm excited to see Pocket has finally monetized in a way that's not a subscription plan for power users. I previously wrote about their ad monetization possibilities in late 2013. Now I've finally seen the first ad served up by Pocket.

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Choosing Nine Symphonies Challenge

January 09 2015

I saw via violinist.com a fun little challenge put forth by CK Dexter Haven. You have to pick nine symphonies for the desert island. The challenge is that a composer can only be chosen once, only one symphony can be chosen per number, and the symphony must be generally agreed to actually be representing that number (this is challenging for

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Book Review - The Innovators

January 05 2015

Walter Isaacson's The Innovators tells the story of the people responsible for the current digital world. I really enjoyed Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs. This book doesn't go nearly as deep, but it covers many more areas and is an enjoyable read. Effectively, it's almost like the history book of computer engineering.

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Beijing Symphony Orchestra Plays Strauss and Brahms

December 22 2014

Last night, as part of Richard Strauss' 150th anniversary year, the Beijing Symphony Orchestra played his Don Juan Overture and Der Rosenkavalier Suite. We were also treated to Brahms' pastoral Symphony No. 2. Marc Moncusí conducted. This was the first time I've seen a live performance by a Chinese orchestra. The Beijing Symphony Orchestra is not the best China has to offer (I think that would be either the China Philharmonic Orchestra or the China National Symphony Orchestra). My personal experience is that there is plenty of room for improvement.

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Top 1% Percent Reader (Again!)

December 16 2014

I wrote about this last year as well, but I am once again one of Pocket's top 1 percent readers!

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Speaking at the AWS Summit in Beijing

December 12 2014

I presented today at the AWS Summit in Beijing. My topic was AWS Cloud Storage. It was the first time I'd ever presented anything professionally in front of this many people (around 400-500 in the audience) at a public event. To compound matters, I had to do most of the presentation in Chinese!

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Book Review - The Breaks of the Game

October 26 2014

I've been meaning to read David Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game for several years. It's universally recognized as a milestone in NBA writing. Bill Simmons wrote glowingly about it and frequently references the book in his articles. After finally reading it, I'm happy to say that it's not just a truly wonderful and descriptive book about life in the NBA, but also in general an amazing piece of writing.

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NBA League Pass Calculator

October 19 2014

The 2014-2015 NBA season is about to begin and I'm in the process of choosing my five league pass teams. I've been doing some thinking on how to optimize the league pass experience and I thought I'd share my thinking.

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Book Review - Chaos

September 08 2014

I was looking for an interesting book on science when I came across a list of scientist biography recommendations on kottke. The list looks really promising and added to my queue of books (particularly the Isaacson biography of Einstein and Richard Holmes' The Age of Wonder). However, the book that really caught my eye was Chaos Making a New Science by James Gleick. The book is a good introduction (but also appropriately deep in science and theory) to the principles and history behind the study of Chaos theory. Gleick has been around, writing a bunch of interesting books on science (including three Pulitzer Prize finalists, including Chaos) and founding one of the first ISPs.

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21

August 06 2014

I need to share the details of my 21 game last night. It is the greatest game of 21 I will ever play.

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Book Review - What to Listen for in Music

July 27 2014

I happened to be in a Barnes and Noble one day when I discovered a copy of Aaron Copland's What to Listen For in Music. This is a great example of why physical storefronts might still be useful - during random browsing sessions, sometimes we can find something useful. It's amazing to me that over all my years as an amateur musician, I didn't even know that this book existed. Copland originally wrote this in 1939 and then revised it in 1957. It's a great introduction to classical music forms from a master musician. It's well written, easy to understand, and informative. In addition, Copland's own personality and thoughts come out, so the book doesn't read like a dry textbook.

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Book Review - Home Game

July 05 2014

I was given Michael Lewis' Home Game (An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood) to read by a close friend. He and his wife had recently welcomed a baby girl and he felt like this book was a good read and potentially helpful for expectant fathers. The book is a memoir of Michael Lewis' experiences raising his own three kids. It's short and sweet. I don't know if I'm any more ready for fatherhood, but I did enjoy it.

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Reading Symphonie Fantastique

July 03 2014

I took part in a sight reading rehearsal of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique with the Northwest Mahler Festival last night. This is my first ever experience with this type of rehearsal, where the goal is simply to get through all of the music without rehearsing too many of the details. It was a very interesting experience and I'll try it again depending on what music is being read.

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All Three Stravinsky Ballets

June 22 2014

We saw the classical programming season finale for the Seattle Symphony on the summer solstice last night. The title of this post is misleading - Stravinsky wrote more than three ballets. However, most people really know Stravinsky for the three iconic ballets he wrote for the Ballets Russe from 1910 to 1913, The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring. We were treated to all three ballets in their full versions tonight, an extra long concert that included two intermissions and ran until 10:50 pm (after an 8:00 pm start).

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Beijing Business Trip

May 26 2014

I just got back from a business trip to Beijing to see some prospective AWS customers. I was in Beijing for about a week (with a short trip to Hangzhou) and got some nice time with my extended family in Beijing near the end of the trip.

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Hilary Hahn Recital at UW World Series

April 29 2014

We were treated to a recital by the amazing Hilary Hahn tonight. The program was more heavily dominated by modern pieces (3 of the 7 pieces played are from Hilary Hahn's latest In 27 Pieces album). The other pieces are very early classical and not part of the usual recital repertoire. Here's the program.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

April 20 2014

Yesterday, we attended a matinee ballet performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I've played the overture before (and I love it), but this is the first time I've seen the ballet or heard the entire music for the ballet.

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Book Review - Flash Boys

April 07 2014

I devoured Michael Lewis's new book, Flash Boys, when it was released recently. It meets a lot of my interests and curiosities - high-frequency trading (HFT) and Michael Lewis.

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La Boheme at the Movies

April 06 2014

We saw Puccini's La Boheme in a matinee performance at the movies yesterday. It was the first time that I've ever seen this opera in its entirety.

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Pathetique and Piano Concerto Premiere

March 23 2014

We saw the Seattle Symphony in action last night with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, "Pathetique", and the US premiere of Alexander Raskatov's Piano Concert, "Night Butterflies".

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Joshua Bell Recital

February 06 2014

We got to see Joshua Bell live in recital last night. Bell is universally regarded as a top violinist and is one of the leading representatives of his art. However, I had mixed feelings upon leaving the performance.

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Sleeping Beauty on Super Bowl Sunday

February 02 2014

Tchaikovsky wrote three major ballets, Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty. Sunday, I finally got to see Sleeping Beauty, the only one of the three I hadn't seen yet and also probably the least performed of the three.

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New Year's Eve with the Seattle Symphony

January 01 2014

We spent New Year's Eve with the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya last night. It was a pops concert that concluded with Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. There was a post-concert party with a countdown to midnight. All in all, a pretty fun night with an interesting mix of music.

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Santa Claus

December 16 2013

Top 1% Percent Reader

December 12 2013

I got two nice emails from Pocket today. The first was a list of top articles read by their customers in 2013. The

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Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall

December 04 2013

We were in Cleveland last weekend for my friend Leo's wedding. Seeing as we likely won't be making it back to Cleveland anytime soon, we decided to make a trip to Severance Hall for the Cleveland Orchestra.

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Password Protecting an S3 Website

November 25 2013

I previously wrote about how this site is hosted entirely on AWS, and all the content is in Amazon S3. I recently created two sub-sites, wedding.xingdig.com and engagement.xingdig.com that are also hosted on S3. This post talks about my process for setting these sites up, and how I'm able to get a level of password protection on the site simply by using some neat S3 features - web page redirect and bucket policies.

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Pocket Highlights

November 14 2013

I recently wrote about Pocket and their need to personalize the experience. They just released Pocket 5.0, a major upgrade, as a first step toward that personalization.

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Irrational Behavior

November 12 2013

Birthday Mahler 6

November 10 2013

We saw Mahler 6 with the Seattle Symphony last night. This was somewhat of a birthday concert for me, as my birthday is coming up in a few days.

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Pleasant Emails from Quora and Pocket

November 06 2013

I'm normally very vigilant about opting out of email marketing lists. Recently, I've noticed that there are two weekly emails I get that I'm actually starting to pay attention to. Both are instances where the weekly email actually increases my interaction and usage of the product.

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Three Seattle Concerts

October 06 2013

I wanted to write a little bit about the three Seattle Symphony concerts we recently went to. This includes the opening night concert with Lang Lang, an all-Ravel night, and Beethoven's Triple Concerto.

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Concertgebouw Orchestra in Berlin

September 05 2013

I now have the Concertgebouw Orchestra atop my personal list for worldwide orchestras. I'm still making my way through the list - I've seen the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, and some others. I've never walked out of a concert with more energy and excitement than after seeing the Concertgebouw perform in the Berliner Philharmonie.

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Hilary Hahn Plays Sibelius

May 07 2013

I feel like there are a few artists per generation that truly represent the gains and evolutions made by that generation. We saw Hilary Hahn a few weekends ago (4/27) play the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony. At this point, I think it's safe to say Hahn is one of those artists that define this generation of violinists (along with Gil Shaham, Maxim Vengerov, and Joshua Bell).

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Swan Lake by PNB

April 21 2013

I'm fast becoming a fan of ballet. The the music is great, the length of the performances are reasonable (2-3 hours, compared to 4+ hours for some operas), and there's a nice visual element. The Pacific Northwest, in particular, has been a joy to attend this year. The prices are reasonable and the location is great (a leisurely walk from our Queen Anne apartment).

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Tokyo String Quartet's Farewell Tour

April 19 2013

There are many reasons why I attend specific events, but it strikes me that usually there is a main "hook". Sometimes it's the artist, sometimes it's the setting, and sometimes it's a specific work. We saw the Tokyo String Quartet at Meany Hall on the UW campus on Wednesday. The "hook" in this case was the Ravel String Quartet, one of my favorite quartets and one of my favorite pieces of music, period. That this concert was part of the farewell tour for the Tokyo String Quartet was an added bonus.

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Arrested Development LPs

April 13 2013

When two of my favorite things in the world combine, I need to mention it. Colossus of Clout has designed a LP cover for every Arrested Development character.

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NBA Game in Portland

April 08 2013

We took in an NBA game last Friday, Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers. I'd wanted to check out an NBA game in Portland since moving out to Seattle. I'm pretty excited for the potential Kings move, but obviously that's not yet a done deal.

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Genius Journal

March 28 2013

Automating Upload for Jekyll Website to Amazon S3

March 26 2013

As a follow-up to my earlier post on how I'm hosting this website on Amazon S3 and via Jekyll CMS, I'd like to describe how I'm uploading the contents to S3. I ended up writing a bash script that "publishes" the site and automates syncing with my S3 bucket.

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Moving from Google Reader to feedly

March 25 2013

Like many others, I have been taking Google Reader for granted. So when Google announced they are killing off Reader on July 1, 2013, I started stressing about how I would transition. Probably around 90% of the content I read daily comes from Google Reader. While I'm starting to use Twitter more, it's just not the source for my daily reading.

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Beethoven 5 and Gautier Capucon

March 24 2013

My high school violin teacher once told me that she considered Mozart's Fourth Violin Concerto the hardest concerto to play well in the entire violin repertoire. Mozart can look deceptively easy, but it can also be incredibly frustrating to make it sound good. So began the Seattle Symphony concert last night with Mozart's Don Giovanni overture.

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Website Hosting on Amazon S3 with Jekyll CMS

March 18 2013

I finally decided to get a real domain and host this website on Amazon S3. I was the Product Manager for a few of the Amazon S3 website features that were released last year (see here and here). I always felt bad that I wasn't hosting my blog on S3. Now that I've investigated Jekyll, a Ruby-based static site generator, I'm happy to report that this site (xingdig.com) is completely hosted on Amazon S3.

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