Saturday, December 11, 2010

No more cmtan@serve.com etc

My cmtan@serve.com address, an email address I've been using since 1995, no longer works.  This is because my long-time webhost, Datarealm, decided to pull the plug on the serve.com domain.  My new email address is jollybodhi@gmail.com.  Some of my friends have been calling me 欢喜菩萨 ("huan xi pu sa", meaning the jolly bodhisattva), so I thought "jollybodhi" seems kind of appropriate in a fun way.

This change also impacts my Buddhism website, which used to be at www.serve.com/cmtan/buddhism, but is now at whatdoyouthinkmyfriend.com.  I honestly have no idea what to do with the website now.  When I started it in 1995, it was one of very few websites on Buddhism in the world and a key pioneer of Dharma on the web.  It was, at its time, the only website in the world presenting Buddhism in a highly personal and practical way with a generous touch of humor, which I think made Dharma a little more accessible to all.

And then life sort of happened to me, I moved to America to become one of those stereotypical overworked immigrant dotcom engineers, became a parent and, on the way, got distracted by other ways to serve the world, such as writing a book, creating Search Inside Yourself and co-founding Stanford CCARE and all.  During that time, the website got seriously neglected.

Today, the website is just one of very many Buddhism sites on the web, once a prominent global pioneer, now just some forgotten old guy sitting alone at the corner of a nursing home reading the New York Times on a rocking chair.

The question is, what do I do with it?  What is its next calling in life?  I have no idea.  If you do, let me know.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

For $50,000 a piece, you think they'd get it right

Every now and then, I should rant about trivial stuff.  It keeps me grounded at Samsara level.  Today is one of those days.

I'm in the market for a new car.  I test drove a Mercedes-Benz ML 350 today.  It's a good car, stable, handles well, accelerates competently and all.  Except one major flaw.  The navigation system is positioned in such a way you need to look DOWN to see it, taking your eyes off the road, which makes it dangerous to use.  Who made THAT design decision?  Maybe the vaunted German engineering doesn't extend to German UI.  Hint to Mercedes-Benz: Every customer dead is a customer lost.  Customer death, not good.


I also test drove the Lexus 450h, a lovely hybrid car.  Beautifully smooth ride, lovely interior and all.  Perfect.  Except somebody decided to replace a perfectly good touch-screen navigation system with a lousy joystick-based system.  Huh?  Who made THAT design decision?  And, oh, for $50,000, there is no power-folding side-mirrors.  Nope, nobody driving a Lexus should ever be expected to drive into tight spaces like, I don't know, a garage.

For $50,000, you'd think you can get the car you want.  But noooooo...  I think I might just stick to my old car.

Dog on a leash

Something I read earlier this week that touched and moved me to the very core.  When I finally got to the end and found out where the quote came from, I thought to myself, "Wow, the Old Man got to me again".  Thanks to my friend, Evan Smith, for sharing.
Dog on a Leash
"Suppose, monks, a dog tied up on a leash was bound to a strong post or pillar:  it would just keep on running and revolving around that same post or pillar. So too, the uninstructed worldling regards form as self ... feeling as self ... perception as self ... volitional formations as self ... consciousness as self.  He just keeps running and revolving around form, around feeling, around perception, around volitional formations, around consciousness.  As he keeps running around them, he is not freed from [them].  He is not freed from birth, aging, and death ... from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and despair; not freed from suffering."
  -- The Buddha
(SN 22:99, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi)