Saturday, July 31, 2004

Midnight oil

Wife is burning midnight oil for her exam tomorrow, so I might as well stay up to surf the net (even though I am quite sleepy the entire day). What the hey, tomorrow is Sat.

Singapore food pic

Originally uploaded by i-shan.

I miss the food.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Campsite finally booked

I have finally taken the time to reserve the campsite for next week's trip. I am lazy when it comes to this kind of stuff - researching for trips is not fun for me.

Alternative to Hello

Blogger Help referred me an alternative to Hello!, or rather a way to moblog: Flickr!. Of course I signed up for it, but I have no photos yet. Maybe when I get a camera phone in the future.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Running review of h6315

Here is a "running review" of HP's h6315 PocketPC phone. The review is composed of a few continuous segments, each posted daily. Right now there are 3 segments.

Update: Yeah, running review for like only the first 2-3 days! How disappointing.

H6315 T-Mobile plan

Darn it, T-Mobile wants to charge $80 to $90 per month for their h6315 plans. Sure, it comes with 1000 anytime minutes, unlimited GPRS data, and free T-Mobile Wi-Fi usage, but personally I don't really care for the Wi-Fi usage at all.

Update: T-Mobile has Wi-Fi in four types of locations: airports, Kinkos, Starbucks, and T-Mobile stores. The only one of relevance to me is Starbucks, and even that I don't go often.



Short supply

For some mysterious reasons my morale has been in short supply lately. I suppose for the next few days my postings would be more like whinings.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

JSF homework started

I am finally getting down to starting the JSF homework. This is the last one, ever.

Apartment headaches

Living in an apartment sucks.

Living in an old apartment sucks more.

Living in an old, noisy apartment with an ineffective manager sucks most.

Well, I suppose there isn't really much the apartment manager can do.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

No more Gmail invitations?

I just read in a Google Group thread somewhere that Google has stopped giving Gmail invitations. I guess I am lucky to have gotten one while it lasted. Too bad I never got the chance to invite anyone though.

Just a wish

Sometimes I wish I have to power to "take care" of someone for good. There are just too many bastards out there. :(

Now we know why in the past few years there has been so many mass-shooting cases.

Disclaimer: This is only a thought. I won't put it into action. I am sure everyone has this kind of thinking once in a while.

Clarification about the disclaimer: Hey, I never know if some crazy %$#@ decides to sue me based on this post. This is USA afterall - any kind of lawsuit is possible.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Google Labs

Just came across Google Labs when I was playing with Google Groups. Google Labs is where Google shows off its "beta" services. There is the Google Define, which recently "graduated" from Google Labs. With it you can search for definitions of a word by using define <your-word> in Google. For example, if you want to search for the word dude, you would type in define dude at Another service of interest is Google Local. In the only small test I performed it seemed to return more relevant results than Yahoo Yellowpages.

Yahoo Groups vs Google Groups Beta

I am trying to set up a mailing list for organizing badminton games.

I started by creating a Yahoo group, that was the easy part. Next came the "impossible" task of inviting members. Half of the original members signed up without incidents, while for the other half either the invitations were lost due to company filters or they don't know how to register. Since members can join Yahoo Group only by invitations, there is really no way out other than to wait and educate everyone. Well, I gave up and decided to try Google Groups Beta.

Google Groups allows members to be added instead of invited, that is the main reason I dumped Yahoo Groups. The biggest problem I am experiencing with Google is the email delays which can be up to several hours. I am hoping this is partly due to the MyDoom virus today and not a normal behavior. Another issue is actually with Yahoo Mail filter on the receipient side - it always sends emails from Google (e.g. Gmail invites and Google Groups messages) right to the bulk folder. Gee, does Yahoo think this would help it gain advantage over Gmail?! Think again!!

In summary, I am sticking with Google Groups Beta for now.

Update: All of a sudden Yahoo Mail has stopped sending Google Groups messages to bulk folder. Go figure...

h6315 will have a special T-Mobile service

I was bored and surfed over to T-Mobile's website. Looks like there will be a special service package for h6315. I wonder if users are allowed to add features like family plans.

Free WYSIWYG HTML text editor

FCKeditor is a cool HTML editor with an unusual name. But what the hey, it's free!

Preview Google search results

One more plus for Firefox! You can now get previews of Google search results with a Firefox extension. This blog entry points to the extension page and also explanation on how it works.

Disclaimer: I won't know how well it works until I try it at home.

Update: It works great. The split second delay for the thumbnails was negligible. Of course the delay might be intolerable for dialup users.

Toyota recalls

Finally there is a non-Honda recall! I know it's not good to laugh at other people's "misery", but I have just had too many Honda recalls to care. :)

ATM DVD in Singapore

Just wanted to post this as Singapore is involved.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

HP iPAQ h6315 reviews

HP's new PDAs won't be officially announced till tomorrow, and already there are two reviews of the h6315 PocketPC phone.

HP iPAQ h6300 @ Dave's iPAQ - Reviews - HP iPAQ h6315 Pocket PC Phone Edition - v3.0


This is what I had for dinner.
Posted by Hello

HP h6315's new trick

Well, it's not exactly a new trick I guess, perhaps I just didn't pay enough attention to it before. Looks like HP's new h6315 PocketPC phone "can easily switch between traditional cellular and Wi-Fi networks":
The h6315, which was co-developed with T-Mobile, operates on a traditional cellular network but can automatically hop over onto a faster Wi-Fi connection when one is available.
The article then goes to mention that this feature would be useful for VoIP in the future:
Armed with the appropriate software, such gadgets could eventually use a home's Wi-Fi access point to make phone calls using the Internet, technology known as voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.
The h6315 will be available in Aug exclusively from T-mobile at $499 with 1-year contract. That's kind of expensive for me. We will see...

And yes, tomorrow HP will announce all its new generation of PocketPCs running Windows Mobile 2003SE.

Live action Transformers?

Can you believe some one is thinking of making a live-action Transformers movie? I can't. I just hope they do a superb job and not mess up my fond memories from my long vanished childhood. Yes, I am one of those people who were crazy about the original Transformers and have since collected a few sets of DVDs.

HTPC decisions

For a while I have been contemplating building a Home Theater PC myself. I almost went ahead with it were it not for the arrival of summer and news of new AMD chips/chipsets. This delay gave me more time to do more research, and now I am undecided on whether to build or buy a HTPC.

Why build:

  • Custom picked components
  • Fun of assembling a PC
  • Cheaper (?)
Why buy pre-assembled:
  • Saves time and trouble
  • MS XP Media Center Edition (MCE) 2004 is still the best out there, and MCE 2005 is to be released this fall. Unfortunately MCE only comes with OEM systems.
  • Cheaper? I just got an online quote for iBuyPower's HTPC, and the price is very competitive.
  • The newer components (e.g. AMD 939 chips and chipsets, PCI Express) are too expensive, so they are not relevant anymore.

Broke badminton string

Darn it, I broke my badminton racquet string in today's game. Now I have to spend $20-30 to restring it. At least the tragedy didn't go to waste as we ultimately won that particular point.



Saturday, July 24, 2004

No more AOL response

After the first AOL email response I have not received another peep. This is what they "claimed" will happen:
It appears to be a system problem on our end which is causing the malfunction and I would like to thank you personally for bringing up this issue to our attention. Your information has been forwarded to the correct department for verification and further investigation. Furthermore, I assure you that I will make follow-ups on this report for you.
Great bullet dodging, AOL!

Great movie - Butterfly Effect

Last night I watched "Butterfly Effect" on DVD. Great movie. I haven't been as captivated by a movie for a long time. It approaches Chaos Theory and time travel from a fresh perspective. When I rented it I thought it was a horror movie. Wrong! It is actually a suspense thriller that hooked me to the end. Alas, because of how critical suspense is to this movie, I won't want to add it to my DVD library, simply because I already know the story after last night. "The Sixth Sense" is another perfect example of this genre.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Quick Outlook search

Microsoft bought Lookout and makes the software free. Go get it if you use Microsoft Outlook. Performing searches in Outlook with Lookout is times faster!

Dorky thing

What a wonderfully dorky "tool"! :)

K.I.T.T. for sale

Any one remember the TV show Knight Rider? I liked that show...

Anyway, the K.I.T.T. car is now for sale on eBay, starting at $40k.

Walk the walk

I talk about gadgets all the time, but I am still a chicken when it comes down to walking the walk - I can't get down to buying the gadgets I like. What can I say, I am a cheapskate. Actually my wife is a factor here, but shh...

What "inspired" me to write this entry? Well, I have been eyeing DSLRs for a while now but didn't do a thing (and probably won't in the foreseeable future). I just found out that a friend of mine actually slammed down the $$$ to get one!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Only four left

At its heyday there were 12 people in my group. Soon after the re-org there will only be 4. It's not necessary a bad thing, as there should be a vacuum once the senior people take off.

AOL's response

This morning I received a courteous email from AOL regarding my AIM problem. While nicely phrased, the email offered no answer other than that the problem is being followed upon. I think the email sounds polite because it is off a tech support response template.

Search this blog

I just added the functionality to search within my blog archives. You can access it in the side bar to the right of this page. The search is a generic one by Google, so you must remember that the results might not contain the newest blog entries as they might not have been indexed.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

No more AOL for me

That's it! No more AOL for me forever and ever! I have had nothing but bad experiences with them.

It all started about two years ago when I moved to a new apartment. Remember, back then AOL was still doing pretty well as an ISP and could afford to be arrogant. I had just canceled my DSL after moving and needed an ISP, so I tried AOL's free 45-day dialup trial program. I simply couldn't get connected, even after registering for two different login names. Not wanting to pay for any "service" after the free trial period, I called their tech support to kill the accounts. Initially the guy on the phone was pretty polite when he was canceling my first account, but when I mentioned the second account, he turned nasty as if I was trying to abuse AOL. His remarks were in the line of "we have lots of customers, we don't need you". I did what any guy with dignity would - I vowed never to do business with AOL again, no matter how attractive their offerings are (and trust me, they aren't). Sure, an AOL "manager" called weeks later to apologize and attempt to sell me something, but the damage was permanent.

Fast forward to current time... Because I am using GAIM, I log in to all my instant messaging accounts simultaneously when I go online. AIM (AOL instant messenger) happens to be one of the accounts I log into. A few weeks ago someone started messaging me as if he/she knows me. I ignored the messages thinking it is probably some IM-spammer. Today I was really ticked off and answered the person. Now I don't know how true it is, but apparently a friend of his/her has the same screen name and he thinks I am her. This seemed less absurd when another guy messaged me at the same time believing I am someone else. After some unsuccessful explanation, I logged off AIM and emailed AOL to check if they have two AIM accounts in their systems. While not likely, anything could happen after that recent debacle where an AOL employee sold more than 9 million AOL account data to spammers.

Whether the AIM issue is genuine or not, I have had it with AOL. None of my friends are on AIM anyway. I used it mainly to experiment with, so I can cancel my AIM account without regrets. I will still wait for AOL's response, if any. In the mean time AIM is off my GAIM list.

Can't shoot burglars?

On the way back home this afternoon I heard a bit of interesting news on the radio: a guy is charged with shooting a burglar who broke into his house. Ok, I guess this human right thing is getting a bit out of hand. Does this mean that while some one can risk arrest in order to hurt me, I could also be arrested for punching him in the act of self defense? Kinda absurd to me... Let the damage take place first, then sue!

I know I had only heard the headline and not the details of the case, but I found it amazing nonetheless.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004



Monday, July 19, 2004

Gmail conversation

Finally I have a long email thread, that's "conversation" in Gmail terms, in my Gmail account. And I am telling you, the "conversation" concept works great. All emails in the chain are presented together in a stacked format, with color-encoded senders! Keyboard shortcuts also prove efficient, especially when I use Gmail on my notebook. It is too bad I still cannot send out invitations to spread the joy.

Handed up Struts homework

I have done it! I have finally handed up the Struts homework. The only one left is the JSF. I will give myself a few weeks, if not months, to get that done.

CEO talk

This afternoon I attended an Engineering talk given by our new CEO. Overall I am pleased with the session. The new guy is more straight forward and appears more friendly, not condescending and dismissive like his predecessor. He dished out the company's vague strategy (come on, we are just lowly engineers) and answered questions relatively truthful. Still, time will tell whether he will be effective in bringing the company around.

PDA virus

Yap, some one has created the first Pocket PC virus as a proof-of-concept. Hmm, a conspiracy theory coming up: are these viruses created by anti-virus companies themselves in order to sustain businesses, and in this case, even open new markets?

New degree - PSM

For those who like to study, there is now a new PSM degree - professional science master's degree - on which to burn a few precious years.

Outsourcing minimum wage jobs

Crap, apparently even fast food jobs can now be outsourced! 真是哭笑不得。

Consensus on Sony Network Walkman

Looks like I am among many who think Sony's new Network Walkman is totally lame. This post goes one step further to point out Sony's terrible timing with the new iPods being released.

T-Mobile MDA IV already?!

MDA 4 is already announced when MDA 3 is still unavailable? I like the specs though: VGA screen, quad-band, fast CPU, etc. But darn it, it will be released (if ever in US) next year!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Time for bed

It's 0400HR on a Sunday morning, and I have only just decided to go to bed. What made me stay up? Struts homework, what else? The worst part of the homework is already over, I am just spending time to clean everything up. All repetitive work...

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Teen Titans

I discovered a "new" enlightening cartoon on Cartoon Networks: Teen Titans. The drawing is great and the stories are hilarious.

My favorite character is Raven. I like her cool and heck-care attitude.

Blogger composition tools are back

Alright! The formatting and preview tools are back at Blogger. Not only are they back, but there are a few new features as well, including keyboard shortcuts. I guess Blogger engineers just (unnecssarily in my opinion) took them offline for a while in order to better tweak them.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The last time I paid attention to Wikipedia was because they offered a PDA version of their free encyclopedia. Now I am paying attention because I am impressed with the scope of the articles. I did a search for "Singapore" and "Xiamen" and was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of images and lengthy articles (for a free product). There is also a Chinese version, but the articles are not as in depth.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Picasa is free

Google bought Picasa the company, and now Picasa the software is free! I believe it used to be $20-$30. I am downloading a copy to play with right now.

While I am eager to see how Google will integrate Picasa, if ever, into Blogger, I don't like the fact that some of the Blogger formatting features (e.g. preview, bold, italic, links) are taken away.

Update: I will stick with Adobe PhotoAlbum. It just gives me more user controls like the simple tagging system.

Web design tricks

A List Apart is a great web site that offers tricks and tips on advanced web site design and implementation, e.g. there is a great article on putting together a fancy drop-down menu.

Nice to be back

It's nice to be back in front of my own computer with my own preferred settings. The computer at the training was running Win2K and (of course) didn't have favorite my utilities and tools. Needless to say using that public computer was a pain, and I had to clean up my traces afterwards.

Yap, it's <sarcasm>nice</sarcasm> to be back in office after 5pm on a Friday!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Long day

0750 to 0850 - Woke up, walk Frosty, left for work
0920 to 1720 - Internal training course, checking and replying work emails, and getting upset over a rude idiot
1730 to 1900 - Back at cube, finished jumping through yesterday's hoops
1900 to 1930 - More work

I could have gone home at 1730 but instead wanted to finish up some stuff at the office. Little did I realize that "something" dragged on till 1930, even longer than my normal day.

And I felt sleepy the entire day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

HP's new PDAs...yawn

Is it me or are the new generation of PDAs running short of innovations? I am only slightly interested in the iPAQ h6315, and the others are just boring. Has the Pocket PC reached its plateau?

Cute gadget shopping site

I just found a cute electronic and gadget shopping site: Woot!. It only sells one item per day but at a super discount. Today they have the "Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop Pro" at $29.99. I was tempted at first, until I realize that it's not "Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop Pro v2", which has a better mouse.

Jumping through hoops

I feel like I am jumping through hoops just to get some thing done. That something itself is pretty straight forward, but the hoops, i.e. the paper works and approvals, are good patience testers. I am looking around for the right people and they are just conveniently not around. It's of course not those people's fault as their work do not center around me (more like the other way around), but nevertheless...

Update: I have now completed all but the last hoop.

Update 2: My mistake, there are more hoops for me to jump. *sigh* It's not like I am the one who is asking for the "something", but looks like I am the one who has to push through the red tape.

My GPS is obsolete

Looks like my Garmin StreetPilot III will be replaced by the new Garmin Quest. So what else is new... :(

Mudguard falling off

My car's rear right mudguard is falling off. I don't know how much it would cost to get it fixed and where to do it, a car mechanic or bodyshop?

Sleep away

I think I am one of those people who are blessed with the ability to sleep away their concerns and worries - I woke up this morning not caring a damn thing about the recent rumors. You know, shit just happens.

Hello.exe is not Unicode compliant

The program Hello is not Unicode compliant, i.e. I couldn't use it to post Chinese entries to BlogSpot - garbage characters appeared instead.

Posted by Hello

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Video rocker chair conclusion

I guess I will pick option c too. Originally I wanted to buy a video rocker chair to play video games, but several reasons made me decide against it:
  • I don't really play video games that much.
  • My living room is crowded as it is.
  • Most people picked option c, thus killing my enthusiasm.




I am pretty irked the whole day because of the upcoming reorg. Now, not all the reorg news is bad news, at least not bad-to-the-bone bad. There are in fact even some nano good-news. Let me see, 10% okay news versus 90% uncertainty and a potentially sinking future... Yeah, I am still irritated.

"Slow" kid

Stupid kid!
A SACKED accounts clerk took revenge on his bosses by blitzing them with FIVE MILLION emails.

The lad believed he was within his rights to bombard insurance giant Domestic & General for firing him.

But he was in for a shock when detectives from Scotland Yard’s computer crime unit arrested him.
The teenager said last night: “All the emails were harmless — just classic lines from films.

“I only had to pay for my internet connection. Everything else was free. I just wanted to cause them a bit of inconvenience.”
He has complained of unlawful arrest to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Don't these people know any common sense?

Sorry, I am not in a good mood.

First thing in the morning

What is the first thing I did this morning at work? Join a gossip discussion group of course! It's only natural with all these recent 180-degree directional and organizational changes. I can't wait to hear what my manager has to say in the team meeting this afternoon.

I am not sure how many people have read an article on how AT&T Wireless blundered last November during the critical number-portability introduction, but basically one of the main factors leading to the disaster was low employee morale due to offshoring "rumors". It's interesting, but sad, to see it happening around me, though currently in a much smaller scale (I hope).

Monday, July 12, 2004

Copy protection becomes spyware

Starforce's "cutting edge activation technology" looks more like a nasty spyware. The article quotes an user as saying:
So ironic, i have never in my life been to one of these Warez sites before, until the bloody copy protection gets so virus/Nazi like i have to.

Yahoo map SmartView

I just found out that Yahoo has this SmartView feature next to their map locations. This feature links the map's current location to Yahoo's yellow pages database to show nearby attraction or businesses. For example, I could see "all" the Chinese restaurants or hiking trails near my home. The results are of course not exhaustive, as I am sure Yahoo's database is far from complete - or perhaps intentionally so until some $$$ is exchanged. Nonetheless it is a good start at making the service integration more accessible.

Comments notifications

I have changed my blog's setting such that I would be notified by email when someone comments on my blog (not quite often, mind you, which makes them all the more precious). This way I won't miss any comments (however few) posted to my archived entries.

Video rocker chair?

Which one should I buy?





c) None of the above



Techdirt:New Hampshire To Tax Instant Messaging, Email And Chat Rooms

Adware =?= 'thiefware'

Every one hates adwares, now there is more reason to hate them, from a merchant's perspective: there are accusations that one adware company, 180solutions, is "stealing" from online merchants as well.

Blogging from your Pocket PC

Read this if you are interested in blogging from your Pocket PC and do not have an always-on wireless connection.

Sunday, July 11, 2004



A day in Sunol Regional Wilderness

Today we brought Frosty to the nearby Sunol Regional Wilderness. The hike was supposed to be 4 miles. It started out well, Frosty was off leash and strolling ahead of us while we took our time up the hills. Along the way we took some pictures, one of which is posted above.

We took a break after we arrived at a three-way junction. I snapped a photo, the one shown above. Little did I know its significance, for in hindsight it documents the beginning of our boo boo - we took a wrong turn here!! Lesson learned. :-( As a result we probably hiked for two extra miles along paved roads. Near the end even the mighty Frosty stopped being its perky self and proved that a dog's stamina still loses out to a human's.

On the drive back home we passed by a Fry's Electronics super store. Being a super fan of theirs, we went in. The store is new, it is huge, and it relieved me of my fear that there is no Fry's in Fremont region. Fremont now looks like a more viable alternative.

All in all today's hike is alright, despite the "mis-cursion" and the lack luster scenery. We tried out a new route and that is that.
Posted by Hello

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Mozilla Gains on IE - Mozilla Gains on IE:
A loss of 1 percent of the market may not mean much to Microsoft, but it translates into a large growth, proportionately, in the number of users running Mozilla and Netscape-based browsers. Mozilla and Netscape's combined market share has increased by 26 percent, rising from 3.21 percent of the market in June to 4.05 percent in July...
I knew Firefox is good, and now the market is starting to appreciate it.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Nothing but the Full House on*

This is pathetic, there is nothing interesting on TV such that I am now watching Full House reruns.

Yes, at home I always have the TV and computer on at all times.

*Inspired by Dave Kaz's "Nothing But the Radio On".


I am glad I am not an emotional person. I like logic, and I like using reasons and analysis to resolve issues. This helps me avoid many emotional roller coasters.

Unfortunately that means I am not an artistic person either. Readers (however few) of my blog probably see that my blogs are often lacking in things like poetry and abstraction.

But hey, this is me. I like being me.

Gmail's over the top DHTML

There has been complaints of Gmail's over dose of JavaScript. Mainly these JavaScripts provide a desktop-like user experience but voids any web-application expectations. For example, the fancy keyboard shortcuts are not possible without the underlying scripts - I would know, our company's product has this feature and I have worked on that. As for breaking the web application experience, I list the example of Firefox's Open-In-Tab feature. Normally I use a Firefox keyboard shortcut to open a link in a new tab, but this is broken with Gmail links: the link opens in a new browser window as well as in a new tab. Besides this minor irritation, other people have also blogged about context-sensitive menus problems while in Gmail.

College Astronomy class

I just came back from sitting in my wife's Astronomy class. My wife went for the extra credits, and I attended for the chance to see through a real telescope. Well, to get to the telescope meant I had to sit through a hour of lecture that comprised of some computer animations, a DVD show, and lastly lengthy star projections. I was video taping some of it for my wife's friend, and I felt asleep during the DVD show. Her friend is going to see, or rather, experience my almost dropping of her precious camcorders. Anyway, back to the telescope... I finally had my 5 seconds (literally) at the telescope and managed to see a white 5 mm (in the eye piece) spot which is supposed to be Jupiter. Not really exciting but an experience nonetheless.


I guess it's that time of the year as rumors are beginning to surface again. They normally start at about June to July, as history has indicated for the past 3 years.

Anatomy of a 419 scam

It's a bit obvious by now, I mean with this type of 419 scams happening and being reported on for years, but just in case, read this for a detailed case study.

1st gen Motorola MPx only has 32mb?

I am getting the impression that someone up there does not want me to throw my hard-earned cash at the Motorola MPx! As this article says, the first generation of MPx will be available in Oct (yippy) but only with 32mb of RAM (?!):
Now for the bad news: the MPX will only have 32Mb of RAM. On the phones he looked at, that left only 3-4MB of memory available for running programs. Motorola recognizes that that's a problem and is working very hard to upgrade the device to 48MB of RAM before it gets shipped. However, they said that chance was slim. They explained the problem away by saying that the device is mainly for use as a phone, not as a full fledged pocket pc.
That's bogus! My current PDA has 64mb of RAM, I am not "upgrading" to 32mb AND pay $900 for it. If I just want a simple phone, as the MPx is intended to be, I could get 3 or 4 for $900.

2003 and 2004 CRVs burst into flames

At least 27 Honda CR-V sport-utility vehicles from the 2003 and 2004 model years burst into flames shortly after getting their first oil changes...
Phew, luckily I have a 2002 CRV. :-)

2005 Grand Cherokee gets a Hemi

Let's say "Hemi"!!

Thursday, July 08, 2004


I just heard a piece of news that I am not so crazy about: there might be a re-org in our big group after one of the big shots leaves. It does not exactly mean personnel cuts, but people might be split into different groups, one with a brighter future than the other. Sucks!! How does the company expect employees to work and maintain a high morale when there is a policy change every other month?!

Like my job

I like my job. Why? I get to sit in front of a computer all day, listen to MP3s all day, and...and... Hmm... That's basically it...

I am not trying to be funny. I actually wanted to list more reasons when I felt that I like my job... Guess that's writer's block?

Mozilla security hole

Well well, looks like IE is not alone in having security issues: a Mozilla/Firefox bug allows arbitrary code to run under windows.





Toshiba is out

Rumor has it that Toshiba is getting out of the handheld markets world wide. Might as well, I never really liked their products. I have a Toshiba e310 which I bought for my wife, who doesn't touch it anymore. The problem I see with Toshiba leaving is the lack of competition for big guys like HP.

Btw, any one wants to buy my e310? Please conveniently ignore my remark about not liking Toshiba PDAs. :-P

Make Mozilla/Firefox better

This article gives an overview of Mozilla/Firefox extensions that make surfing a lot easier. I can't wait to go home and try out BugMeNot (I mentioned this website previously but never tried out the plugin), Download Manager Tweak, and Web Developer Extension.

iPod vs Sony's new Walkman

Remember how I (in Chinese) "trashed" Sony's new Walkmans one or two days ago? Well, here is what Apple has to say about Sony:

"We thought it was time to help set the record straight," Greg Joswiak, vice president of Hardware Product Marketing at Apple, told MacCentral. "We're disappointed that Sony has chosen to mislead folks with a marketing gimmick -- we just want to make sure customer have the information so they can make an apples to apples comparison, if you will."

Sony's 13,000 song measurement is based on its ATRAC3 (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding for MiniDisc 3) compression system at the relatively low rate of 48Kbps (kilobits per second) while Apple's measurement is based on the AAC compression system at 128Kbps. At the same bit rate, the Walkman can store around half as many songs as the iPod, which is consistent with it having half the storage capacity.

"ATRAC3 at 48Kbps is nowhere near CD quality," said Joswiak. "It's especially interesting that Sony really acknowledges that with the fact that their jukebox software (default setting) and their online store both deliver music at 132Kbps. It's certainly an acknowledgement that it's the minimum bitrate you need with ATRAC3 and yet they chose to play a little marketing game and take their bitrate way down to make people believe their player is a higher capacity than what it is. We just find that to be misleading."

I am bored, so I post this...

Just one of the artsy fartsy photos I took last weekend...
Posted by Hello

Just Frosty

Just Frosty...
Posted by Hello

Get rid of extra network settings?

I have no idea how these extra network settings got into my computer. Does any one know how to get rid of them? "Delete" option in the context menu is disabled.
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Header file killing me

Shoot, now I have to compile loads of other directories because of one lousy modified .h file! Just hope I don't have to compile the entire directory tree like I have done on other occasions - that takes one entire day!!

Update: Make that FRESH (translation: longer) compiles!

Update 2: (10:55pm) I am doing a full compile... :-(

BlogSpot ads are targeted

I have been meaning to post this for a while now: did you notice that the Google ads on BlogSpot are targeted, i.e. they are somehow relevant to the blog entries. Now that's marketing!

Joke: S.H.I.T.

I have read this S.H.I.T. joke way back in NUS, but it is kinda nice to have a refresher course.

Most Singaporean bloggers are students?

I browsed around some Singaporean blogs on BlogSpot while I was waiting for my dual-2.4GHz-Xeon, 1GB-RAM, 80GB-SCSI-HD machine to crawl through the code compilations. My informal statistics so far shows that most Singaporean bloggers are students, this finding concurs with that done on Mindsay. Interesting, I guess blogging is not that popular in Singapore yet. This is unlike in US where many professionals, along with students, maintain blogs, some even full time (gee, that makes them journalists). Some of my friends in the computer industry don't know what blogs are either. *sigh* Maybe I need to get a real life instead... :-P



Not idling...

Don't think because I am posting a lot of stuff today that I am idling at work. I am not. I am just waiting for some stuff to be compiled. What can I say, ClearCase is sloooow...








Internet Explorer gets another one

It is just not a good year Internet Explorer, looks like there is another security hole in IE. I say just use Firefox, like I do!

Googles vs. Google

Looks like Google is in some small sh*t again. I am sure with their clout they can get out of this one a "winner", but it is scary the kind of trouble one can get into if one is not careful about the names he chooses. Thorough research must be done, but just how thorough?

Bloglines facelift

"Bloglines | Free, Web-Based News Aggregator" gets a new look, plus some basic blogging abilities. I use Bloglines to gather articles from sources of my interest so I can read them all in one spot. It saves you time to go to those sites individually.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Creative Zen Xtra's new holster

Man!! Looks like the newer Creative Zen Xtras come with a better holster that reveals the LCD screen!!! My 60GB Xtra has the old holster that completely hides the LCD screen. :-(

NUS and alumni

National University of Singapore is finally recognizing the importance of students and alumni. Giving permanent emails is a small gesture, but it goes a long way in making the alumni feel special. I have an email account with my grad school, and even though I don't use the account, it makes me feel a sense of belonging none the less.
Posted by Hello

Motorola MPx size-compared to MDA II

This place has quite a few pictures of the Motorola MPx compared to MDA II in terms of size. The MDA II is suppose to be the same size as the unreleased MDA III, so these pictures should give you (me) an idea which one to lust after.

I just can't read a darn thing written on the site.



Cheaper Corvettes

According to this article, the new C6 Corvettes will be cheaper, althought the price is still way out of my league.



Blogger problem

I am getting "Internal Server Error" when accessing through Mozilla, but the site works fine while in Internet Explorer. Weird... But I do know that currently there are problems with Blogger, according to Blogger Status.

Luckily BlogSpot is okay, so people can still view my beautiful, informative blog. :-P

Update: All problems went away after I restarted Mozilla. It's still strange that browser refresh couldn't get rid of the error message.

BenQ P50 out in 2005

Looks like the BenQ P50 PDA phone will be out only next year. This is one of the phones which I liked and blogged about.

10-disk Matrix DVD collection

There is going to be a, get this, 10-disk collector's DVD set of the Matrix trilogy! TEN bloody DVDs!!

Struts homework progress, again

Yes, I had said I won't work on my Struts homework anymore today. Well I didn't, not at full capacity. What I did do was think about it, and guess what, a theory* occurred to me during my shower. I tested out the theory as soon as I could (and dry), and it works!

Moral of the story? When stuck, take a break and do something else. Things always work out one way or another. :-)

*I removed the old file upload Java code but forgot to remove the old configuration/filter settings.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Canon Digital Rebel vs 10D

AnandTech has an article that compares Canon's Digital Rebel to Canon's own 10D. After scanning through the article, I find that I like the 10D better for its superior image quality and more user control. But then that's a $500 difference.

Last night of a 4-day weekend

Tonight is the last night of the 4-day July-4th long weekend. Here is a recap of how I spent the four days, for anyone who cares:

Thursday night: A school friend came over for a wedding, so a few of us gathered for dinner, after which they came over to my apartment and just played with Frosty.

Friday: You know what, I don't remember what I did on Friday. I did start on my Struts homework though.

Saturday: We were supposed to take Frosty to a neat off-leash place, but we couldn't find the entrance. After hours of trying, we gave up and just took him to a nearby dog park. And more homework for me.

Sunday: We just brought Frosty to a nearby college. And yes, more homework.

Monday: I worked on my homework starting in the afternoon. At night I met up with another school friend and had dinner with him and a few others. Then they came to my apartment again and played video games. At least my PS2 was put to some use. We had some durian, which is not my favorite fruit.

No more Struts for this weekend

That's it, I am stopping on my Struts homework for this weekend. I don't see the point of spending another few hours trying to get one small thing to work.* Time to surf the net.

*I keep getting null FormFile object from a DynaForm. All configuration settings look correct.

Struts annoyance

I am getting annoyed over the Struts homework. Nothing works in the first try, every thing I do follows a cycle of attempt, fail, Internet search, attempt, fail again, and so on. There are too many nitty-gritty details that can break the darn thing, and there aren't many (if any) tutorials on the more advanced combinations of API classes offered. I am sure once I overcome all these problems Struts will become easier, but I can't help but be ticked off. How I wish the Struts/Java community provides the kind of documentations that Microsoft/MSDN offers.

My next homework will be to convert the application to JSF. Unfortunately there is supposedly less documentation for JSF since it's even newer than Struts.

Still doing homework

Well, the library com.oreilly.servlet.MultipartWrapper, which I have been using for past homeworks, is not compatible (at least I don't know how to make it so) with Struts' own org.apache.struts.upload.MultipartRequestWrapper, so I had to rewrite the entire file upload mechanism. The code is in place, I will test it tomorrow.

And the instructor said this homework is trivial... Yes, it can be trivial if I do a half-****ed job. But if I want to go Struts all the way, it takes days just to get the configurations right. Then again, Struts is mostly about configurations.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Struts saveMessages

I finally got the messages and errors working correctly, after reading this, among others!

Don't like registering for a website?

When I first tried to access an article at New York Times, I got rejected because a free registration was required. Now just like most people out there, I don't want to sign up for another thing that I will never use again, just to read one article. Some one at the forum that referenced the NYTimes article suggested, which provides logins/passwords places like NYTimes. Works great. even offers IE and Firefox extensions (I didn't try those though).

More homework progress

After another few hours of work, I have managed to get a sample form validation working in Struts (server only, client side validation still doesn't work). All it took was tons of Internet research and continuous cursing at the lack of good Struts documentation. The Struts training session we had, which took place at least 2 months ago, was too superficial and totally useless when it comes to implementation.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Frosty's day

This picture of Frosty was taken today at Redwood Shores dog park.

We actually wanted to go to Thornewood Open Space Preserve at first, but despite its location on map and our several back-and-forth drive alongs, we just couldn't find the entrance. Later we learned from a park ranger that the entrance is not marked and actually looks like a residential entrance. By that time I was sick of looking and decided to go some where else instead.
Posted by Hello

Homework progress

It's already 4am, that means I have worked for about 6 hours on my Struts homework. Tonight I have made some significant progress, with the main framework laid down in place. That's about 50% of what I want to do. I can actually stop here if I want to, since the homework objective is to merely convert our previous project to use Struts. That's the class objective, my goal is to take advantage of Struts rather than just making do.

Unfortunately I tend to settle down and work on my homework late at night, so I usually end up sleeping late.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Internet research pays off again

I was starting my Struts homework and quickly ran into a problem regarding J2EE filters. What to do? Naturally I hit the Internet for a quick fix. Two attempts later I found the answer here. This is much better than reading the entire Struts documentation or waiting till Tuesday to ask others.

Sony's problem

This article explains why in my opinion, Sony products suck. This is a quote:
He then goes on to say that the source of the problem lies in Japan, which wants to force products on consumers to buy products by only using standards that people need their special devices to listen to or view. He believes that the debate over which formats to support will continue on past this first wave of new products we’re seeing, and that another contact at Sony, one who deals with high-level executives in Tokyo, told him that the company’s top leadership makes decisions based on what is popular Japan and feels that what they make should be based only on what Japanese consumers like (see MiniDisc). They refuse to pay attention to other trends around the world and that this has been a problem for a few years, such that regardless of how models without MP3 support fare, you won’t see them discontinued.

Hope this is not true

I seriously hope that the rumor about T-Mobile dropping MPx is not true. I really, really like MPx, despite its potentially hefty price.


I am glad that technewb finally updated The screen name is not "tech newbee" for nothing, right? Ha ha ha...

Holiday today

Today is a holiday for my company. Hmm, let me recap how I have lived the day so far:
  • Woke up at 12:30pm
  • Acompanied wife to dentist, more or less skipping breakfast and lunch
  • Dopey bit wife, wife upset with him
  • Frosty puked on living room carpet, so I "assisted" wife in cleaning it up
  • Watched sitcom reruns for 1-2 hours
  • Downloaded some pictures from digital camera and deleted all but 3
Now I am going to start my homework again.

Thursday, July 01, 2004






Motorola A630 cellphone

The phone looks nice and small. It's a world phone too. Too bad it's not a smartphone or PDA phone.

Sony's Walkman-Branded Hard Disk Player

I don't like Sony products. They all force their proprietary crap on you, e.g. memory stick and ATRAC format. I suppose the technology per se is not bad, but I don't want to live in a Sony-only world. Oh, and not to mention paying tons of premium for it.

Police Magnum spied

Sh*t, I wouldn't want this thing after me. Looks like it can legally run me down if it wants to.