Monday, October 23, 2006

Music I Like: Hello Goodbye - Here in your arms

Artist: Hello Goodbye
Album: Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!
Genre: Electronic, Rock

I like,
Where we are,
When we drive,
In your car.
I like,
Where we are;

Cause our lips,
Can touch,
And our cheeks,
Can brush.
Our lips,
Can touch;


Hello synth pop! On my drive home, I couldn't help but to have a big *smile* across my face as the song Here (In your arms) pumped my radio. Something about how the melody and chorus stirs up nostalgia and warm fuzzy feelings of the now.

I think I'm going to have to check them out... As for now, this is my tune of the moment.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Wiki for Gentoo

Man, installing has never been easier. Just searching for your favourite package, live or google it, check the portage tree and emerge. Yeppie! I have my new wiki.


Incidently, I chose moinmoin, being the most popular.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

xGL - desktop composition for Linux

Watch the video, all I can say is *wow*. You can really make a bleed edge looking desktop with high quailty 3D and 2D desktop effects.

I happened upon the video from here.

More info:
Ubuntu Howto
Gentoo Howto

Note to self, I gotta get me a distro and try this out!

Liquid Desktop

You can do it yourself! Check this out, the parameterization of screensavers allow you to pass in arbitrary HWNDs to parent the screen saver. Meaning.. hmm what if I used the desktop as the parent?

Check this out:

yourfavscreensaverhere.scr /p 65552 and voila, you have an animating desktop!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Congee Explained!

Wow, talk about learning something new everyday. Congee, a rice porridge typically eaten at breakfast, is a word derived from the Tamil word kanji. I've always been puzzled how that term came about.

In Cantonese, one would phonetically pronounce it as "jok" or in Chaozhou it's prounced "mwyeh". It's funny how sometimes the Chinese phonetic pronunciation never make its way to the Latin/English phonetic-based word.

On the same 'word history' topic, it appears that China, a term used to describe porcelain and the nation the People's Republic of China. It could have been derived from the name Qin (may be pronounced as Chin), the first imperial dynasty that ruled the region in around 200BC. Curiously enough, today in mandarin, it is pronounced "ZhongGuo" -中国 literally middle country.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bats in Downtown Seattle?!

There are bats downtown Seattle?! Well, I suspect at least near the corner of 4th and Pine st.

While walking home from the flick 'Departed' (which is a mighty good show might I add), my friends and I noticed hundreds if not thousands of chirping nocturnal creatures fluttering about in the trees on 4th across from Macy's. On ground near the inhabited trees, I found what looked like drops of bat poo aka guano. Hmmm... I wonder if Batman is lurking around the corner somewhere.

I Live'd it and found, yes indeed there are bats to be found downtown and up in Greenlake. Unfortunately, with Google I had a tougher time in coming up with relative hits.

UAC & IE7 Toolbar hell

Now with Vista's security, and User Account Control (UAC) are our PCs really much more safe?

I just read this amusing article on how a user experimented with toolbars on IE6. Quite a telling tale: [link].

My bottom-line opinion:
Yes, Windows has created features to make it more difficult to accidentally hose your PC.

However, when it comes down to it.. NO users still need to have a great deal of knowledge to make decisions about whether installing X will be safe. Also whether installing safe X will come with an annoying Y.

User account control is just that - it gives users control to decide when to install something or not, while running in a more restrictive default environment. IOW, I can't accidentally install some foreign ActiveX control that causes spontaneous pop-ups, but I can however still do it, after clicking several dialog boxes.

I would still argue that Windows Vista is probably the most secure version of Windows ever produced. The problem with installing and running software, unfortunately is still a guessing game.

p.s. I'm glad to see a neat reset feature obfuscated in the Internet Options [advanced] Panel.

Reset Internet Explorer settings....

Deletes all temporary files, disable browser add-ons and resets all the changed settings. You should only use this if your browser is in an unstable state.

Mail In Rebates woes

Great marketing plan! Let's sell consumers products at a 'discounted' price, but infact charge them full price, and where applicable collect taxes on the full inventoried price. So, let's sell goods and services for full face value, give our customers a coupon that gets thrown into a rebate system. After which, it'll take 6-8 weeks of 'processing' time to which we may or may not decide to cut a cheque based on eligibility ;^)

Sound familiar? Ughk, it's such a pain in the butt...

Why do retailers do this?
1) Manufacturers or wholesalers want to rush out inventory through incentive based liquidating
2) Stores will co-market this inventory liquidation
3) Manufacturers + stores will co-market to produce incentive and buzz to buy a particular high value product

The process of photocopying receipts, meticulously cutting out the UPC and mailing several forms with several pieces of info to various mailing addresses can become daunting. On top of that, you may have thought you've fulfilled the retailers + mfgr's requests on the rebate forms, but you may in fact may not have checked the right box, or neglected to sign a dotted line somewhere. Thus invalidating your rebate request, hence after all this processing - the goods or service purchase becomes much more expensive than anticipated and desired.

Bottom line, something advertised for 59.99, may infact be 149.99 with serveral stacked coupons, let's say 50$ from mfgr + 40$ from retail hq. On top of that, you may or may not get these rebates. Sounds like a professional 'scheme' to me. As of lately, I try to avoid these like the plague.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mozilla meet Microsoft

Oh what a cool night, I got to have dinner with the core Mozilla team. It's amazing how organized open source projects can coherently bring a project together to strive towards the same vision and goal. To bring the ultimate browsing experience to consumers.

My experience with software development has mostly been in the domain of commercial/for profit software. It's amazing how much co-ordination goes on with open source projects like Firefox and to see the organization ship version after version in a relatively short time period (12 months).

Overall, the meet and greet was very humbling, we talked shop - browsers, extensions, plugins DOM interactions and talked about how to integrate in the next revision of Microsoft Windows aka Vista.

There's nothing like swapping tech stories and drinking stories a like over steak and gorges of wines and spirits.

I gotta say, Chris Ruth's steakhouse has a decent selection of single malt scotches and unique desert wines. *yumm*

On top of all that, I learnt that they have facilities in Toronto! How about that, it's one of their core centralized dev centers. Way to go T dot. Their operations are pretty small there compared to those in Mountain View, CA. It's still an HQ in Canada.

Tomorrow morning, I get to meet with the core Mozilla team to talk more about UAC. I'm excited to see a fully Vista capable release of Mozilla products, like Firefox and Thunderbird.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Wii + Twilight Princess = Awe inspiring

Wow - I'm pretty excited about this new gaming system, I mean who wouldn't be with capabilities like nun-chucks, sword fighting, fishing, archery all in a full featured adventure action game. I WANT ONE!

Check it out:

Where did I go today?

International District

After some Dim-sum I whipped my camera out on the hunt for some photo ops.

Distinctively Asian - Walk about the I-district it can become very apparent the differences between Chinese and Japanese architecture. In particular, the cultural significance of the colour red as well as the larger accents tend to be traits of Chinese structures. Whereas Japanese structures will tend to stay more towards neutral colours, with accents that are not as bold.

Supportive pillars

Gene Coulon Beach Park

After poking around at Fry's - I decided to take a random road and see where it would lead me.

Mighty powerful sun! - pretty blinding actually was seeing dark spots after taking this shot.

Distinctive poise - Her arched back can almost be conceived as aristocratic.

A conversation to be had - to be shared with a loved one or a good friend

E-Commerce the love/hate relationship

E-Commerce, the 90's answer to superfluid commerce for the purpose of exchanging goods and services over a ubiquitous network 24/7/365. The utopian dream suddenly bursted early in 2000 when vendors realised they have to keep expensive inventory and stay on top of the logistics of fulfillment, VC's realised that not all [dot] com ideas were worth 10s of millions and not all customers were wired to the internet.

Anyway, enough of history today 10/01/2006 we as consumers are exposed to a variety ways of conducting business through a mash of mediums with a variety of currencies. Business through the internet, over the phone and in good 'ol brick and mortars. Here's my take on why I like and dislike about buying stuff over the net.

What I like about online transactions:
1. Instant gratification (zaaaaap, in an instant I've bought new songs, movies, e-books, and game/movie/show tickets) - As digi-cams have become extremely popular as I can preview my shots right away or decide if need to re-take another shot. Instant gratification works great for services and electronic media delivery. Instantly you can receive what you want the instant you want it.

2. All the convience sans the drive - I can do everything from the convience of work, home or an internet cafe (wifi permitting). I can go out and pre-order the next new video game, book or whatever without having to change from my PJs.

3. Best prices EVER - No tax, free shipping competitive pricing what more can you ask?

What i don't like about online transactions:
1. What you see isn't always what you get - buying shoes, shirts, jackets or pants isn't the same if I can't physically try them on.

2. The waiting game - the cat and mouse game with the mail/post dude. The game becomes especially irrtating when they leave those delivery notes stating that they'll be back between the hours of 9am-5pm. Alternatively, instead of waiting for the package, I could go out of my way to the delivery center to pick it up. *ughk* this system is defintely not tailored for those who work during core business hours or those who do not have someone at home to help sign packages.

3. Shifty deals - I find myself scouring and often. However, buyer beware there are a lot of con artists/bad vendors out there. There's nothing to say other than proceed with caution.

Anyway, this is just a silly rant that came about when I was decide to a local electronics store to buy a new SD card reader.