Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December is done

It's time to look back what I have done this month. I walked/jogged 20 mornings in total that was 51km. In November I walked/jogged for only 13 mornings of total 30km.

I have tried new route this month, back and forth from my place to a nearby school, with a distance of 3.6km.

I don't have a coach from what I have read the FAQ is always about what is better for you between jogging and brisk walking. From my own experience I agree with this article that walking fast is a lot stressful for the muscles due to the efficiency of your body for the same speed as jogging. Some said running/jogging, which is a high intensity workout, will burn mostly stored carbohydrates for fuel. Walking as low-intensity workout will burn fat. I really don't know what is correct as I don't see any change when standing on a bath room scale after 2 months.

If you like punching your calculator to reassure yourself that you are doing the right thing perhaps this reference could help. If you like to hear from the pros and researchers you could also read this.

I still don't have a clue as to what is best for me perhaps there isn't an absolute good-for-all solution. A more academic argument such as this suggests that if you are overweight or have a cardiovascular condition walking is better especially for those who aren't used to high intensity exercise because your body has to take few times more stress when running.

My conclusion from reading all these is that

  • if your doctor says you are fit to run (go for a treadmill test measure your heart rate ...etc), running will give you better satisfaction

  • if you aren't fit enough and are absolute beginners like me, try walking first then improve your speed to brisk walking

  • at more than 8kph (5mph) brisk walking is harder than running. So far I could walk at 6.4kph which I felt harder than jogging at low speed

  • keep good record of your speed, mileage done and heart rate by something like this so you'll know when to promote yourself to do something harder

  • listen carefully to complains from your leg muscles, joints and even heart

My plan for January will therefore be alternating between jogging and walking.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Somewhere in Time

This is a must see if you like old photos. You don't like old photos? Congratulations you are too young and you can skip this blog of mine!

This year I am lucky to have grabbed a desktop calendar with old photos donated by Hedda Morrison (1908 - 1991).

Let's look at Hong Kong 70 years ago when even your dad/mom were young kids.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What are your golf balls?

Friend of mine just forwarded me one of those circular emails, this one is meaningful requiring deep thoughts.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed..

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'

The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

I do go out with friends once in a while but not for a couple of beers for me instead I take Coke or lemon water. I don't play golf at all so I started to learn jogging due to the findings from routine medical checkups. The philosophy behind an analogy like the above can be easily understood but the trouble is that when it comes to choosing your golf balls for life most people have a misconception that his mayonnaise jar is infinitely large and couldn't tell sand from golf ball.

There is however one dimension that the above analogy has omitted, i.e. time. The Jar doesn't last forever don't believe that you may have a second chance to replace the pebbles or sand with golf balls you like later on.

The ability to pick between golf balls, pebbles and sand depends largely on one's value system and life experience. If the above was really taught in philosophy class (we don't have this in our education system) students will still be putting the wrong stuff into their jar believing that they could always turn his/her jar upside down and start again.

How many times you could turn your life upside down and start again?

Friday, December 19, 2008

I could nearly run

In the loop I walk there is an uphill section. When I first started I reached the peak in 13 minutes. In the last 2 days I finished that section in less than 10.

I can only do brisk walk and may be I'll be able to jog for the second half of this steep uphill section later. My performance for the last one and a half month is plotted below.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

English is fun

The winter 2008-9 forecast on UK Met Office won the annual award of the Plain English Campaign, more on Telegraph UK. We do forecast at work for business so let me try

Quarterly forecasts indicate how slowly-varying large-scale economic climate influences make particular Quarterly conditions more likely than others. Random, unpredictable factors ('chaos') also partly determine year-to-year variations, and these will sometimes override large-scale influences. Such uncertainty makes a probabilistic format, as used here, advisable for Quarterly forecasts.

Changed a few words and this is ready to deploy.

I'll be fired certainly and would have to learn to be a freelance writer if I put the above in the remark of my forecast.

Isn't it enjoyable writing something like this, bad taste if you disapprove!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Work Life Balance

I attended HKQAA's Symposium 2008 yesterday. It was about Corporate Social Responsibility and the forthcoming ISO 26000 for CSR. There was also an interesting topic about a survey on Work-life balance in Hong Kong by Ms Shalini Mahtani of Community Business.

One of the findings is that biggest WLB challenges for men is the well being of wealth and that for women is leader's attitude. For me the finding for the women is very interesting.

This is quite the opposite to common sense. I know of many western bosses who are gentlemen and respect the needs of a women especially those working women with kids. I have not heard of a female boss who does the same on their female subordinates. Why, couldn't the female boss see the needs of a female who works for her?

I'm not a professional to analyze this. I could only apply an analogy, i.e. mom-in-law relationship with the wife. A mom-in-law should understand what it's like in managing the relationship with her husband's mother because she has served her time. Why is she still be harsh on the young generation instead of being understanding. The mom-in-law said ".... I endured the hardship when situations were a lot worse than what it's now, why couldn't you do what I'm expecting of you .... you are simply just not good enough for my son who deserves someone better like me ....".

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Paper money

I don't believe this myself I brought this book 25 years ago. It was $3.75 at today's exchange rate.

It was written by George J W Goodman. Why am I picking this book up again? Simple, while every nation in the World is cranking the money printing machine I need to know what will be happening to my wealth, which I don't have much, and to my boy who will certainly be suffering in years to come.


Monday, December 8, 2008

I'll be running

Now I got a pair of running shoes, I'll need to learn how to run.

May be another book like 'running for dummies'? [edited: this book does exist, it's here]

There are good web resources such as this, this, this, this and my recommendation for someone like me who isn't used to regular physical exercise for many years. Due to the constraints of time and location I'm sure most people won't be able to follow exactly what are recommended. I consider myself lucky because I have uphill, downhill, a flat section to either walk or run in my loop. My goal now would be doing the same for at least 6 months before I find a track suitable to try real running.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Peugeot to retire

It's going to be 10 years old in few weeks. It broke down at the top of the hill recently and had to be towed, it has served us well in the last ten years.

Looking back I have driven a lot of brands Mazda 626, Honda Civic, Saab 9000, Saab 9000 turbo, Saab Griffin, BMW, Toyota Corona, Peugeot, Honda HRV ..... etc. I was lucky enough as I didn't have to pay for most of these.


Before X'mas I'll be getting a replacement.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I need running shoes

I started jogging a bit the flat section of the loop, now I could do that in 3.5 minutes instead of 5.

I don't like shopping and shoe is probably the most difficult shopping item ever since I was a kid. I still have a few pairs of sport shoes which I seldom use may be they belong to the bin by now.

What I have been using is a just a cheap slip on which isn't meant for running. I'll need to shop for a pair of suitable shoes the coming weekend.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Walk this month

Times flies and November is nearly gone. Below is my result for this month.


I did pretty well, didn't I? So far I found no trouble of getting up only occasionally feel stiffness at my leg muscles I think that must be normal after few days of walk. May be I skip Wednesday next week. I will also try to jog instead of walk fast along the flat section.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Photo Printer

My boy needs color photo prints from time to time for his homework so I shopped this one at last. I just like it small.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What a father can do

Just look at Dick and Rick Hoyt team. Don't forget to turn on audio while watching below. It's a beautiful song by Nicole C. Mullen.

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning
Who told the ocean you can only come this far?
Who showed the moon where to hide 'til evening
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testify
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives

The very same God that spins things in orbit
He runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken
They conquered death to bring me victory

Now I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life wihtin me cry
I know my Redeemer, He lives

To take away my shame
And He lives forever I'll proclaim
That the payment for my sin
Was the precious life He gave
But now He's alive
And there's an empty grave.

And I know my Redeemer, He lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives

4 days of walk

This week I have walked every morning from Monday to Thursday, I'll take a break tomorrow.

Now I know better how to control my pace hence my heart rate has been very stable at the uphill leg, I have an average of 133 during last 4 days which is pretty good compare to 153 at earlier walks. The total loop time is around 25 minutes and I don't think I could walk very much faster unless I run.

The refreshing air in the morning is really good even though I may not have had the amount of sleep I wanted the night before. The only draw back of course is the vehicle pollution along the way, there are lots of school buses and the alike in the morning.

I have now experienced a few times interference to the watch I wear during the walk. The interference happened almost exactly at the same spot along the walk path. As my friend Stephen said the watch is a very good EMF detector.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Can I run?

I have done the loop for 5 times now, tried also different time of the day.

  • Saturday after lunch: 29' 24''

  • After work before dinner:26' 56"

  • Saturday mid afternoon: 26' 08"

  • Morning before breakfast with a banana: 24' 57"

  • Morning before breakfast with an apple: 24' 48"

I'm doing better every time at the total time with maximum heart rate averaged at 143.

Now I plan to do this loop every morning next week. I'm thinking in the near future will I be able to run this loop. The first leg going uphill is fairly steep so I think it'll be very tough for my legs.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Customer service before any services!

I thought mobile broadband isn't a solution for me so I went to HGC Broadband to inquire about fixed line broadband. To my surprise they don't cover the building I'm in. I now realize why. PCCW Netvigator has been there early on other providers simply don't bother investing at our building because there are only 68 units it simply doesn't worth the effort.

Now I signed up 3reedom mobile broadband plan. At their counter I specifically asked if I could use FTP because SmarTone-vodafone confirmed in writing that both FTP and BT aren't allowed in their policy. I never used BT but FTP is a must for me to access my server.

The guy there said "OK no problem" fairly causally then I said whereabouts in your printed documentation can assure me that. He then said they won't then another guy said he'll need to phone his senior to confirm this. The final answer was that they have the right to block any IP at their sole discretion so I better try it right at their shop if the IP I want to connect is blocked.

So I did that. They gave me a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 so I downloaded Filezilla there and made connection to my slice. That was my first experience of using a netbook which is so popular these days. I think a netbook is easier for those who don't do touch typing. My hands aren't big but it's a bit uneasy typing on the reduced size keyboard.

The guy at the shop only taught me what to enter for their APN (Access Point Name), nothing else, then I left. I was told that my service needs 4 - 6 hours to get activated. So I waited until near 10pm to give it a try using my MacBook at home. I couldn't get it to connect, the 'Mobile Connect' (it's called Mobile Partner in Vista) application requires input of 'Account Name' and password but I was given only APN to enter.

So I needed customer service before any services. So I rang customer service.

They said there is no entry required for 'account name', password and I don't even enter the phone number of the SIM card to the box for 'phone number' in the setup window, how on earth anyone could figure that out! That's dead simple once I was told what to enter but why can't the HUAWEI E180 manual in the package (manual is generic because other provider is also selling this) has this information or the forms that I signed printed this?

I followed their instruction over the phone and I got connected. The man there said sorry normally it takes about 14 hours to get your service activated, while he said that in fact my connection was working so I said thank you and hang up.

Did speedtest for the connection which isn't too bad.


Below was for PCCW netvigator fixed line

Picture 1

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mobile Broadband not a solution?

I will be tied to a long term contract so I got to be sure that I can have services that I need, so I emailed SmarTone-Vodafone customer service. They wrote back

Thank you for your enquiry.

We regret to inform you that File Transfer Protocol (FTP) service is unavailable from our Mobile broadband service at the moment.

This is disappointing, so my last option is 3reedom or going back to fixed line broadband.

I have also inquired at hkbn and their reply is also disappointing

我們很抱歉 閣下的住址未能列入我們現時光纖網絡的覆蓋

In fact I can see their cable pits along the road leading to where I live. I guess since the last 3 developments, including the one that I'm in, are by a rival developers hence they decided not to invest anymore further down that deadend road.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

3 weeks to find another ISP

I feel like I'm a VIP. I was served by Rosita, Gavin, Tim, Raymond and finally yesterday a lady Becky called from their customer service telling me that they have received my termination form and will come to take away their modem by end of November. [update]..and the latest one Kiki who wrote like human...

With regards to your email, we are sorry to learn of the situation and truly understand how frustrated you must be felt.

Upon receipt of your message, we have checked our record and noticed that our concern department has received your Termination Form, and our colleague has arranged the service termination appointment for you at ....


After this wrangling with customer service I doubt what sort of CRM tools that they are using. It appears to me that none of these people, who interacted with me on emails and phone calls, knew what other people in their department have been doing. I guess it'll be too much of a trouble or costly for them to write down into their CRM applications what they have encountered but I guess there must be some sort of design to alert them what sort of problems a customer is having. May be they should incorporate a large radio button for CRM staff to click: trouble maker be ware!

I now have 3 weeks to sign up a mobile broadband provider.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My first excercise

I haven't done much in the last 5/6 years now I really need to start again.

I walked the hilly loop near my place, here are the records

  1. 0 - 13th minutes, continuous uphill

  2. 13th - 20th minutes, down hill

  3. 20th - 25th minutes flat ground

  4. 25th - 29 minutes 24:08 seconds a bit up/down before lift lobby

SR383 Red & Blue

From this Heart Rate Monitor watch that Stephen gave me I have

  • Max heart rate 139

  • 10 g of fat burnt

  • Average heart rate 115

  • Total 169 kcal used

Customer Service, tough I know

I kissed Netvigator goodbye. It's a norm for all ISP here that at least a month notice is required. So I wrote to them via their customer login web interface and said

I have submitted termination request form serial no SHP_N ???????. Wonder if you could terminate the service before 17th, which is the due day for next billing cycle. My payment is by credit card which I have now also terminated so you'll not be able to draw fund from that card. Please bill me at my home address instead.

I was kind enough to alert them because they won't be able to draw fund from the credit card that I have also terminated. What I got in their return email from their so called 'NETVIGATOR Email Team' is a standard reply without even take notice of my original email. So I wrote back

Can't you read or you are a machine? Read my original message again in particular " ....I have submitted termination request form serial no SHP_N ???????....".

Answer my question please

I know customer service is tough and these days to save costs their back office is probably in a little town in China or even India. I don't really care but couldn't they train their staff to read? Am I the only customer in town that prefers written communication?

The other night this week I also got a service call from my account manager the poor lady who is assigned to look after my account. She was merely following up if I have received her letter notifying me that she is now the one that I should be contacting for services. Poor girl she had to make that call after 9pm.

Customer service is tough. I gave her another lecture. I said some 2 years ago I gave her colleagues a 30 minutes lecture as to how HSBC should be doing customer service. The bank knows everything about me, my income, where I live and where my work place is. How clever they were to have assigned a Manager, who is based geographically middle of nowhere to the customer, to serve someone who is so close to their other branches at stone throw distance? There are branches near where I live (busiest location on the Island) and work (most profitable shopping mall for MTR alone their lines), aren't these locations more logical? Are there obvious bugs in their computer programme or their department heads all nuts?

What could be true is that I'm not wealthy enough to be served by the Managers located in branches of relatively higher costs. That's fine, they could deny me as customer.

That lady, who obviously was shocked and must have been well trained, apologized over the phone. I said

", no please don't apologize, there isn't any need to isn't your fault, it is your system that caused you the trouble..... I have no trouble at all and didn't feel the inconvenience because I simply put name cards/letters I received into the circular folder (garbage bin) instantly....".

I did say at the end to her that if she really feels that it isn't right in her assignment write me a letter such that I could wave that at someone more senior if they ever make that sort of smart decisions again.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Moving movie clips and music

I have now all my movie clips moved to my external harddisk following hints from this article. Before that I created a 250G partition for data and left the rest for time machine backup.

Next would be moving my musics this post would be steps to follow.

I noticed the other day that my MacBook harddisk has only twenty something Gb left so I have to move clips and music to external storage.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Goodbye PCCW IMS

I emailed them today

Dear Support,

As you have ignored me for nearly 48 hours now I'll be submitting Service Termination Request Form today.

Now I'll either go for 3reedom or SmarTone-Vodafone

[edited] Just about 48 hours they came back and said

.... I have checked the record and would like to let you know that the service that you are now subscribing do not bind with any commitment.

Indeed we are offering various type of service packages with a much competitive price to meet different needs of our Customers ...

and I replied

Sorry you guys are too slow and I have submitted termination request already.

If you can offer good mobile broadband plan please let me know by return I'm too dumb to understand why Netvigator likes to punish loyal customer, how many years I have been with you, tell me?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You guys are too slow

22 hours ago I emailed Netvigator customer service and almost at the same time clicked at their Netvigator and SmarTone-Vodafone websites such that someone will contact me.

I got a call from Netvigator within couple of hours from a sales who couldn't convince me why as an existing customer I have to pay more keeping the broadband at home while going mobile. Are there many people out there connecting full time via fixed line at home while taking their notebook outdoor surfing at the same time?

To illustrate, say I'm paying $198 for my home broadband but it isn't used while I'm away, Netvigator knows that don't they because they must have utilization records in their database. They could apply that diversity and oversell can't they? If I go for their 'Everywhere' plan I have to commit to a 18 months contract at $328 per month which equals to $526/month plus costs of $1,680 for the USB 'auto network selector'. If you are new customer, for exactly the same thing, you only need to pay $488 for a 18 months commitment and $488 for 24 months and the dongle is free.

Why do they punish loyal customers? Do they expect me to run my own server at home and get connected round the clock?

Vodafone isn't very good either so far I have no phone call or email contact from them. [edited] they did come back about 24 hours later forwarding their standard ads without any human touch.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Life style change

Just don't laugh at me you'll know this isn't easy when are at my age!

Nobody has full control of his/her life style because we are not living alone in an island. I need a healthier life style with more exercise.

I drive to work which I don't need to because I'm not living many miles away from office. I have tried a few times taking underground home which wasn't difficult. So why do I still drive to work, it's free to me and laziness is the only answer. However I may need to invest in an 'in-ear' earphone since I can't really listen to my iPod while traveling on the train. Driving up the volume will surely cause another problem.

I don't have that much outdoor works in the last 5/6 years hence really not much stretching of arms and legs. My boy demands my attention as well at home after work as he enters primary school this year. My only choices are

  1. swimming before work

  2. jogging/walking before work

  3. jogging/walking during weekend with family

  4. gym after work

(1) isn't sustainable because winter is approaching (2) is possible but I need life style change, i.e. sleep early (3) I've been doing that from time to time (4) not sustainable, may fail easily and money down the drain.

My plan now is going for (2) hence I need to adjust my life style. I'll have to stop watching late news before sleep and try getting up early enough perhaps once per week at the beginning then increase the frequency gradually. There are quiet hilly walk with very little traffic where I could walk for 30 minutes or so in the morning.

I also need to stop spending time at the computer at home. If I need to work on my server or do something at the sites I manage I'll have to do that before going home. My firewalled corporate network here doesn't allow me to ssh into my server. Mobile broadband service like this or that would fit me. I have been with Netvigator for ages (since the stone age of 56k via phone wire) but their current offer is really ridicules to me. I wrote to them today

Dear support,

Can you confirm that I'm currently not tied to any contract/commitment and I can cancel my broadband account without penalty?

I wanna go mobile broadband but your plan sounds ridiculous to me since I must be a home broadband user to enjoy it but who needs both?

Look forward to your confirmation ASAP.

I'll see what they'll say to me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A 3 columns theme

I've never done one 3 columns theme before, this is first.
There are few features, in particular

  • entry.single will call entry.sidebar

  • comments will call comments.sidebar

  • search will call search.sidebar

  • tag will call tag.sidebar

  • display of single post is moved to a post-block.php, this makes changing easy at just one file

  • Google adsense codes are put in 2 files horizontal.googleads, vertial.googleads and also Amazon ads in amazonads files, so if I play with this on localhost I just have to comment out the include file line

  • there is virtually no image used except one in the header

  • Google analytic codes are also in a separate file such that they are not called when theme is not online

  • style sheet is small 4,687b vs 14,692b (system K2 theme)

My rationale is for certain display to have conditional sidebar for cases like single post and rendering of search/tag search results.

I have tried to make the style sheet as small/light as possible but still there 200+ lines.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Mild hypertension and palpitation have been bothering me. Naturally I researched on these topics which I now realize is a bad idea.

I went to see specialist and he gave me drugs. It's so easy these days I just have to google about these drugs that I was given. E.g. I can see side effect of those hypertension drugs here, here and there. Then I start feeling those mentioned side effect. The more I suspect about these side effects the more I feel that from my body.

Then I bought a blood pressure monitor for home use and I recorded fairly good figures, this is what the doctor and this tell me to do. Then I suspect that I could be just having white coat or masked hypertension. The mental stress could come from this imaginary health problem.

In fact I can't really tell what level is hypertension, some say it's 140 and above for age 50 and above. Prehypertension is range from 120/80 to 139/89. The instruction manual of my Omron says 135/85 and above is hypertension. I'm really confused as the drug I was given is really meant for hypertension and one of the side effect is palpitation. Occasional high blood pressure could well be just due to stress, anxiety or lack of sleep.

At last I had to agree with my doctor, i.e. I got to have faith in whatever treatment I was given and stop researching and thinking about it. The symptoms I felt could be just psychological influence and no drugs can help me unless I have faith. I'm pretty sure my first experience was due to work stress and the recent one was due to fear of a heart problem.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Feeling dizzy

I had a bad dream last night so I was awake early.   Naturally rolling left and right trying to gain a bit more sleep before dawn.   When I rolled left the room was spinning around me so I stayed flat.   I wondered if that was VBI again like I experienced January last year.   When I turned flat again the spinning stopped almost momentarily which wasn't quite like last time.

I gave it another try after a while, i.e. roll left, it was like flipping a switch and the room started spinning instantly again.

The heart specialist doctor said this issue belongs to ear specialist.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Let there be LAMP in Leopard

I have once set up a LAMP server on my MacBook I tried MAMP which was fairly easy to install and use.    As Mac OS X is in fact UNIX I just have to enable a few born with features that came with the box.   I was too naive and lazy then, now I tried again.

This is my howto to install LAMP on Leopard. In summary there are few things that are not the same with other Linux distro that I have used.

  1. webroot is at /Library/WebServer/Documents/

  2. manually start mysql /Library/StartupItems/MySQLCOM/MySQLCOM start

  3. the database server host is localhost:/tmp/mysql.sock

Within 30 minutes I have the server running and a svn copy of WordPress installed. This is in fact UAMP not LAMP.

I'll patch up my howto to include installation steps for Habari. Habari requires PDO driver for mysql therefore php.ini requires tweaking.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I like this quotation

It's from here

There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.

by Richard Feynman, US educator & physicist (1918 - 1988)

The US debt is having a free fall and I heard that they are adding 2 digits to this display. To save a few dollars on reworking they might as well add 5 digits.

Image from WIRED Blog Network

Monday, October 6, 2008

Deleted second slice

I ordered another slice to play with on 4 September. I attempted again to install LEMP which I did successfully. I think the LEMP server has been doing a good job and few days ago I also tried restoring a backup image to my first slice, swapped IP's between slices, all my sites are now running off my original first slice.

So the second slice is idling and I deleted it today. I have played with it and updated my LAMP howto, I couldn't find use of it now.

I guess if I have spare time after dinner I better spend more time on the black and write keyboard to ensure better sleep.

Body check again

I have just gone through a check by a specialist due to similar problem found earlier this year.

I had to stay overnight in the hospital for insurance reasons which made my condition worse for the tests and examinations the next morning. I just couldn't sleep well due to the wonderful music of sweet dreams from my room mates. Nervousness was another issue because this must have been my second hospital visit ever.

My figures are still looking good, if not better than last annual body check.

Uric Acid 341 (208 - 506)
Cholesterol 4.89 (less than 5.2)
High density Cholesterol 1.74 (0.9 - 1.6), higher the better
Low density Cholesterol 2.75 (less than 3.4)
VLDL Cholesterol 0.4 (less than 1.04)
Triglycerides 0.67 (less than 2.3)

I did treadmill stress test as well. My target maximum heart rate was set at 174 there are various ways to determine this target. 2 years ago I was subjected to a rate of 190+ which was 10% more than what I can at my age. Perhaps I was consulting for a problem hence I didn't need that 10%. I did it well within 10 minutes.

Before the test the Doctor diagnosed me having palpitation which is just another name to symptoms found earlier this year. Actually I felt differently this time which is that there has not been unusual heart beat instead the heart has been just pounding heavily at times. It is the high blood pressure that the doctor couldn't explain. It's like waking up due to a nightmare or after racing up stairs.

I am given some medications which the doctor said I don't really need. I am also given a Holter ambulatory ECG to carry for a week. In fact I'm quite relieved after the tests so I hope this machine won't need to be activated.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Chinese title

For English reader you wouldn't know what this is all about even if you may know a bit of Chinese.

For those who know my name they may realize what this is about. My view is that you can never be wise you could only forever pursue wisdom but you'll never get there.

I could never be wise or wise enough.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nice Sunday walk

I took below by my canon last Sunday after a nice morning walk in Bowen Road.


There are more birds' photos here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Watch with tears

If Heeah can play piano with her 4 fingers and Tony Melendez can play guitar without hands what complaint you still have? If you watch below video without tears, look at yourself at a mirror, think again!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


My friends expect me carrying the latest iPhone, most of them don't know me well enough.

I may like electronic gadgets but mobile phone is different, certainly iPhone is very different. iPhone is not just a phone it's a computer. I just don't like talking to people over the phone and my mobile is always in silence mode.

Another concern is of course the carrier, the latest is that you could now order one online from local Apple Store. It says now

iPhone 3G purchased at the Apple Online Store can be activated with any wireless carrier. Simply insert the SIM from your current phone into iPhone 3G and connect to iTunes 8 to complete activation.

I still won't buy one because I have enough time with computers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

$10 million idea, do you have one?

I read John's Book some 2 years ago. Now you don't have to leave your company to change the World. Let Project 10 to the 100 help you to help others.

Google is putting $10 million on the table, got an idea so don't hesitate.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Moved a few sites

Got a little problem with Tinyau's Tag Cloud plugin after allowing the /user/cache/ folder to be writable. Now it's solved by clearing the old cache in that folder.

I have also moved Karen's and Because I Learn to this new LEMP server. During the WP WXR import I had to change post_max_size and memory_limit in addition to upload_max_filesize in /etc/php5/cgi/php.ini or else I'll get Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted error from WP.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Moved to LEMP server

Now I'm eager to see if LEMP would be better.

Having installed firewall moving from one slice to another is a piece of cake.

  1. create a site file at /sites-available/, in this case I just copied the file that I have been using for test and edit the domain name

  2. symlink it to /sites-enabled/

  3. remove the symlink that belongs to the test site being replaced

  4. change DNS setting at SliceManager, basically changing IP address

  5. wait for a while

This theme is a very quick modification to the default K2 theme. I am not using any jQuery scripts for a faster page load, do you feel it?

Time Machine backup

Latest addition of 500G to backup my MacBook

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I locked myself out

Over the long weekend I was playing with my slices. I was initially stuck with importing mysqldump to a fresh new Habari installation at a new slice. This great timing is also inline with schema change of Habari so there were many possible causes of my failure. I was also very bad at Mysql command line and phpmyadmin graphical interface is my only option.

Eventually I managed to import the database into a new slice. Earlier failure was due to extremely large mysqldump mostly due to logs, file size reduced from 16 to 4.5Mb.

I then hit another problem, I locked myself out. It was like slam closed my main door without the key in hand, all windows were also shut to keep the rain out, how nice!

How am I going to get in if I purposely made the sshd_config and firewall to stop anyone getting in. There is in fact a safety backdoor available at slicehost however editor nano isn't very useful there according to this thread. My only 'key' to get back in is using Vi, a 30+ years old editor available to almost any UNIX/Linux distro, to edit sshd_config at console.

I have been very comfortable with nano because that reminds me of WordStar which I learnt to master when the original IBM PC came into market. I was a kid then.

Googled a bit about Vi looking for howto, tutorial and cheatsheet and the like I found this interesting read and this tips. I'm sure there are still a lot of 'died hard' fans to this 'old editor'. Younger generation is just too lazy to climb an apparently steep learning curve. It was said that badly designed systems aren't bad as long as you can get used to it, e.g. QWERTY keyboard isn't a good logical design (I can type fast by the way). During the 500 years of piano history there were also so called genius logical design of multiple keyboards (as in organ, so that you don't need to stretch your hands) and curved keyboard but none of these lasted very long.

PS: now I'm in my house again using editor Vi. I have yet to setup firewall at the new slice before I decide to switch to LEMP from LAMP. I also found that the apparent speed issue of loading this site is due to the jQuery scripts that I'm using rather than performance of Apache.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Is Nginx better?

I first tried Nginx back in November last year when I entered the world of VPS. The first ride wasn't smooth as I couldn't get php to work with Nginx.

I recently tried installing the Linux Nginx (Often called Engine X) Mysql and PHP, or the LEMP stack, again and this time I finally cracked it. My little experience is recorded here. I also recorded how to install phpmyadmin which is useful if I have to transfer database between servers.

Now I'll have to test out how I could move database across after that I'll decide if LEMP would be better for my use. My sites currently are of low traffic consuming only about 2G per month but I could see this number growing.


VirtualBox is a free download this is perhaps the last one that I haven't tried.

I have just tried this using an old image of ubuntu 8.04. This forum thread is a good start. The steps I have taken is not exactly as described for example.

  1. At the end of the installation ubuntu didn't restart itself I have to reset the guest OS from VirtualBox

  2. The VBoxAdditions didn't come out in Vista instead I have to mount a CD image on desktop then run /media/cdrom0/ in command line.

In general my first experience of VirtualBox is very nice, e.g.

  • getting in and out of the guess OS the mouse behaves smoothly

  • network is detected automatically during installation

  • graphic works perfectly without tweaking at commend line during startup although you may still want to adjust color depth from 16 bit to 24 bit

  • if you select a screen resolution, say 1024x768, and shrink the VirtualBox window the guess OS resolution will be adjusted dynamically (font/icon size remains unchanged) and windows open within will stay inside the OS window without having the horizontal and vertical scroll bars created due to the smaller VirtualBox window. This is a really nice feature because I just don't like navigating using scroll bars

I gave ubuntu only 512M of RAM and I see that VirtualBox overall consumes more RAM than other applications of this kind but with less CPU usage. This is a lot better than Microsoft's VPC I tried earlier.

I'll also try version 2.0.2 for OS X at home tonight, VMware Fusion will have to give way.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yundi Li again

I don't remember I went to his concert only beginning of the year.

This time we sat at first row just on his right hand back. This wasn't too bad as we saw his hands in action.

In the programme I like that one "Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante, Op 22" which I rarely listen to. I think I have to dig my Chopin albums out again.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

When Gmail is filled

Who said I never had to delete another email?

Few years ago I have to move around a lot carrying my notebook all the time for work and study. Since I spent very little time in the office I have no access to office emails served by Microsoft's exchange server. So I set up email rules such that incoming emails are copied to a gmail account setup solely for that purpose. I haven't logged into that account lately as I thought gmail is bottomless.

I was alerted by my colleagues that they have received bounce back from gmail saying that my mailbox is full, I don't believe that.


In fact I have more than 11,000 mails in the inbox that I have not read.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tidy up my PC at work

I have dual boot Vista and Ubuntu for my DIY PC now in use at work. I have no time for Linux at work so I wanted to remove the ubuntu installation. In dual boot GRUB has taken over the MBR so I have to remove it. Something that I haven't done for ages so I googled it.

This post showed me how, i.e. must have my Vista disk ready, boot up with the DVD then choose command line.

bootrec.exe /fixmbr

It's that simple!

I then deleted and reformatted the partitions to NTFS. I also changed the drive letters around.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Stanley in Stanley for Douglas

This was taken by the new Canon last week in Stanley.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Goodbye Site5

I signed up Site5 on 21 September 2005 and said goodbye to them on 3 September. I'll have to pay $143.4 if I renew on anniversary, I can't find any good use of it yet so I decided to quit.

As a shared hosting they have done a good job for the last 3 years. There were problems from time to time but they have served me well in fixing issues and people are friendly.

Before Site5 I have also tried DreamHost and Yahoo if I ever want shared hosting again Site5 will be the one that I would return to.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Acid3 on Chrome

Is this good enough for a beta?

acid3 on chrome

I don't know if Google intends to have Chrome to be 100% compliant. By the way Safari scores 77/100 (using same Webkit rendering engine), FF3 scores 71/100 and IE8 beta 2 scores 21/100. If you like putting browsers on a race track see also this post for javascript benchmark test results. I also look forward to trying Safari 4 which allegedly could score 100/100.

Chrome has the simplicity I like on the outlook. It doesn't come with the font rendering I like in Safari but I think in due course those eye candy features will come either in the core or from plugins.

At first start up it didn't impress me because it took a long time to render Google's personal home page and crashed. Once a few pages are cached it was alright. In Task Manager I see few instances of Chrome, one for the chrome itself then one for each tab. There is also one for default functions such as shockwave flash etc. You can try ending those processes one by one and you'll know what has been terminated and taken away.

I have yet to see if it may suffer memory leakage so I'll start this for the whole day. Edited: I think Google is ready to show off. Chrome has its own Task Manager (press Shift+Esc) below and you can see which process is consuming how much. It's like Windows' Task Manager and you could end any naughty process that may be causing problem.


Try open a new tab and enter 'About:memory' in the address bar you'll see more about memory usage. Google is ready to show off, i.e. putting Chrome side-by-side with other browsers running. They know you'll be comparing are you not doing that right now?


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google's browser Chrome

As a developer can you cope with the pace of new broswers and standard? Google is launching their own browser very soon. It's like a car builder now having their own engine factory.

I have seen commercial sites around here still WARNING users that their site is best viewed by IE 5.1 or 6 while IE7 is nearly obsolete with IE8 just round the corner.

I have also seen websites still support only IE without any consideration of users using Safari, Firefox or Opera. I guess with the pace of new broswers/standards joining the race it must be good business helping businesses to update their website designs.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Notebook stand

My latest addition is a Logitech Alto notebook stand

What I like is the USB hub that comes with it. It provides 3 ports at the back and 1 at the front. The total output is 2,400mA while the other one 7 ports USB hub I have has only 2,000mA output.

Monday, August 25, 2008

VMWare Fusion 2 beta

I have just tried VMware Fusion beta 2. It's a free download at the moment. I can now run XP Pro and connect to my office network and run Office. I wasn't able to do this before this beta version.

The dual monitor (or multiple monitors) feature is not as easy as advertised. I couldn't yet set all desktop on both monitors to show Windows but it's working after all in unity mode.

I have yet to run it for a prolonged period to see if it's practically usable.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Apple Juice Theme

This is Apple Juice Theme 0.5 that you are seeing. Again I have added some round corners this time using another technique called jQuery-Roundcorners-Canvas. This is a lot easier, tidier in the codes, compare to nesting DIVs as in my earlier attempt in Roundbox.

Next improvement I wanna try is Hover Accordion which requires no click to expand a menu on the sidebar.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Got a new Camera recently it's IXUS 970 IS, took below shot at TST.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

iMovie doesn't like Disney

It is just that iMovie doesn't like my shots taken at Disney. Other tapes are all OK whenever it comes to those taken at Disney the CPU load will increase as well as RAM used.


The CPU was getting hot and the fan worked very hard as well


It crashed again and on restarting it looks OK again


For other tapes it looked like this while importing, there were CPU load spikes but overall the RAM used was very stable.


I think it may be a sticky tapes that caused the problem.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

iMovie import

I did DV tape import last night now with 250Gb HDD I think my MacBook can swallow all 7 x 60 minutes tapes I have.

Import for first 2 tapes was OK and I left it running while having dinner. The third tape I watched it and saw 'Time Machine' clicking in. Then I started to see checkers on screen and the same from the SONY camcorder. Few minutes later iMovie crashed.

I guess to avoid having quality issue with imported movies I better watch carefully tonight when I try importing again. This time I'll turn off 'Time Machine'.

Monday, August 11, 2008


My MacBook is just over a year now so it's time modding it.

Just bought a Hitachi 250Gb SATA 9.5mm HDD last Friday to replace the 120Gb in the original MacBook. I did the replacement and reinstalled everything while watching the Beijing Olympic Opening on the TV.

I have yet to find a way to erase everything on the old HDD such that I could use it as Time Machine backup, the disk utility didn't work for me with error 'couldn't unmount drive'. Since I have tried everything I know in Mac I just tried doing that from Vista. This TransMac or this MacDrive 7 (you have 7 days evaluation from here, if you get it from versiontracker you have 30 days sorry 7 days only + you could reformat Mac formatted drives) will do the job from Vista.

By the way after watching the documentary about the construction of the National Stadium 'Bird's Nest' and the Opening I have a feeling that this sort of event is only possible in China. Imagine a construction project like Bird's Nest happening in Western World how many arbitration cases, labour union strikes, project delays and money spent on lawyers there could have been. I would love to see how London will manage this in few years time!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


What you are seeing is a theme in progress.

As a temporary measure it's called 'Mac'. I have only worked on the style sheet so it doesn't look right. At the end I hope to make this a simple theme with Mac OS X look, plain, simple and imageless. At the moment the code base is from the Connections Theme as you can see from the footer.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ubuntu in VMware Fusion

Installation is a lot better comparing to experience of using VPC in Vista. It was a lot faster, smoother and without tricks here and there.

I am running a 30-days evaluation version of Fusion 1.1.3 The upgrade was also done pretty smoothly and quickly. My speakers were working under Ubuntu and my hardware wasn't complaining.

Picture 1

The only thing that I found not working so far is the scroll wheel of the mouse, this great tip fixed that.

Dashboard widgets on desktop

I am now using dual monitor at home with my 19" ViewSonic as the primary monitor. With the larger desktop I can now place useful widgets on desktop without pressing F12 every time I need to see them.

The command line trick is here (this link is dead but another one is here). Now I could place useful widget like iStat Pro on desktop.


Burning imported movies to DVD is dead easy in iLife. My little project to archive my DV tapes in DVD continues.

My MacBook had to work very hard in my first attempt which I selected 'best performance' in DVD quality. That took around 90 minutes. Yesterday I made another attempt using 'professional quality' which took more than 2 hours with CPU cranking to 80 deg C in temperature.

To be honest I couldn't tell much difference by my aged bare eyes.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ubuntu in VPC

Virtual PC 2007 SP1 is a free download from Microsoft.

I don't need it actually because I can dual boot into Ubuntu from my PC here. I just want to give it a try, you don't have too many free products like this from Microsoft.

I haven't tried but I can assume that it'll be a piece of cake if you want to install another Microsoft's OS in VPC. I tried installing Ubuntu 8.04. It certainly wasn't easy and I found a good article telling me exactly what to do.

Don't rush like me, following the article didn't take me anywhere. There are 160+ comments the real wisdom is in those comments posted by readers. Key steps you shouldn't miss are

  • Don't install straight into HDD, run live CD then install

  • Use graphic safe mode (F4) and add additional commands to startup script (F6)

  • Edit grub script during first boot

Enough for VPC, I prefer Wubi

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DV tape to DVD

I have more than half a dozen DV tapes that I want to convert to DVD for storage. I tried Fotomax which costed me 10 days and $29 for every 60 minutes tape. That was too much and I'm trying plan B.

Plan B would be iLife '08 at $75.6 with free shipping from Singapore by courier, few dollars for a 4 to 6 pins fireware cable and a pack of blank DVD. My first attempt to import from my SONY video camera recorder was successful, once plugged in the camcorder is recognized.

The tutorials are easy to follow and understand, within minutes I started importing.

Picture 3.png

Next would be burning a project using iDVD.

In the box it comes with iWorks '08 Trial I have yet to try that out.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dress up Ubuntu

Read this news about ubuntu going to out-pretty Mac in 2 years. I'm not disputing the possibility but I have serious doubts if this is going to materialize. Art is really personal and I don't think "design by committee" really works.

Linux wasn't too attractive at the start to me, I had a book that I never read. I tried ubuntu last year its outlook wasn't attractive either. I would say it is pretty ugly comparing to what you can get from a Mac. Obviously developers have devoted a lot of time in catching up or surpassing Windows on usability and functionality. It's not wrong and look and feel is a matter of taste. I have tried a dozen distros and every time I reinstalled my copy of ubuntu tweaking the font is the first thing I do.

Just more than a year ago when Apple first release beta Safari for Windows I was attracted by it. It was also for that reason I bought my MacBook.

Will a prettier ubuntu attract more users my answer would be definitely YES.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Victoria Park

I have not been to Victoria Park for many years. Last Sunday Douglas was playing/cycling there with his friend. There are a few things that are almost the same all these years the swimming pool, roller skating ground and the pool for boats. These facilities must have been rebuilt a number of times in the past, looking at them does draw childhood memory.


The park is also a well known paradise for domestic workers on Sunday. I saw a few groups of them singing with guitar, some are learning guitar in groups. There was impulse in my mind to say "...hey can I join, hand me the guitar will you?...". I heard a group was singing particularly good, they must have practiced every Sunday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

iTunes Store in Hong Kong

Thanks to iPhone 3G launch in Hong Kong iTunes store is now available in Hong Kong.

I have an Apple ID because I have a few Apple's gadgets but it's pretty useless although I could fake a US address to get an iTunes account for stores in the US. This workaround would enable me to download cover flow artwork and a couple of free songs, which I don't like, and free TV shows. With iPhone 3G launch iTunes store is now live in Hong Kong with iPhone and iPod Touch applications available. At the moment they have nothing for sales except these applications.

First thing first, I need the $9.95 iPod Touch firmware 2.0 so I edited my Apple ID account filling up payment method and billing address etc. Downloaded 222.6 Mb of this firmware update tonight. I'm going to try a few free applications.

Picture 1.png

I noticed that once payment method is filled and am logged into the iTunes Store there will not be any prompts when I click purchase. By this I have authorized iTunes to take my money without further confirmation clicks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Replacement iPod Touch

It was available for collection yesterday and I picked it up this morning. I was told it is a brand new replacement but in fact the 'repair mark' is quite obvious, it's like tool mark between the glass and the frame. Never mind I didn't expect a brand new replacement anyway.

Tested it thoroughly tonight, still disappointed, the sound quality has improved a bit but the broken speaker sound for certain songs is still obvious. My proof is using my iPod Photo to compare playing the same songs. The trouble is that so far I found bad sound is heard only with this album Best Audiophile Voices Selection. I love this so much that I play it all the time. It is OK for my other favorite album such as Carpenters even if I push the volume to the limit.

The service man said this could be a loosen jack to my ears this is like resonance at high pitch (both vocal and piano) of those songs on the jack assembly. I couldn't find any other songs in my library of near 1,000 songs that could produce that sort of bad sound yet.

Perhaps it's faulty by design I'll give up because it isn't obvious unless I'm listening in a very quite environment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

iPod Touch has gone for exchange

My iPod Touch is faulty. I play light Jazz such as Best Audiophile Voices Selection and hear lousy sound like broken speaker with volume only mid way. My aged iPod photo has those songs from the same library which reproduces the songs perfectly.

I went to the Authorized Service Provider today and the man there said I should be getting a replacement in about a week.

Before doing this I posted my problem at Apple Discussions and never heard any answers. I later tried iLounge, got few responses on the same day. Don't understand why Mac users don't like Apple's forum.

What you believe, what you do?

My sister sent me one of those circulating emails with a powerpoint attachment. The powerpoint is full of very nice images and some messages fit my life philosophy.

  • No lock is made without a key. There is a solution to any problem.

  • There is a painful story behind each successful person. If you are in pain accept it and be ready for success.

  • Judging other's mistakes is easy, recognizing our own is difficult.

  • We can't go back to change a bad beginning, you could always start doing it right for a successful ending.

  • If a problem can be solved no need to worry about it, if it can't be solved what's the use of worrying?

  • Making mistakes is painful. A collection of mistakes is called experience which will be fruitful.

  • Heated gold becomes ornament, beaten copper becomes wires, depleted stone becomes statue. More pain you endured more valuable you will be.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Desktop vs Notebook

Below is WEI for my desktop

This is from my $1,025 Toshiba M600 notebook

I ignore performance on graphics because I don't play games on my computers so I think these two perform nearly the same. Both of them are running on 2G RAM with Core2Duo 6420 (2.16 GHz) and T5450 (1.66 GHz) CPU respectively for desktop and the M600 notebook.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


At last first of July we have sunshine. Below was taken by my Nokia 6300



Friday, June 27, 2008

Vista at work Part 2

I have almost forgotten how I cured that keyboard/mouse problem. Lucky that I wrote that down here. If the scroll wheel in the keyboard isn't installed properly then the USB port in the keyboard will not work. Now at last the keyboard is fully functional and I have an optional mouse plugged into the keyboard.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vista at work

Brought a Toshiba M600 notebook for home use so I took my DIY PC back to work.

Setting up wasn't too difficult except Outlook 2007. I trust Microsoft so much that updates are downloaded and installed automatically. There is a patch KB946983 for outlook 2007 which will cause huge problem, e.g. the Office icon will be flashing, you couldn't move your message windows or can't even write new mail.... The cause is a invisible open dialog box not closed. This is a good reference about this. The fix is simple, uninstall, and it'll go back to normal.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Have you pledged?

Firefox 3 download will be available tomorrow. When I pledged to download it there are about 34,441 from whole of China.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


My boy is pointing at KLCC from the ferris wheel.


The highlight of this trip for him is to see this


and the shopping mall within


Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Went to movie last night, got little time before that so browsed bookstore and found this book.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Macau again

Couple of tourist must see places we went to during March this year.



Sunday, May 25, 2008

Firefox 3 RC1

This RC1 is said to be good for everyday use. Download it from here.

In ubuntu you'll get the latest by default but you'll need a few more steps in order to get RC1. In System>Administration>Software Sources click the 'Third-Party Software' tab and the 'add+' button then type in

deb hardy main

You should be prompted automatically that new updates are available. Click the 'Install Updates' button then the rest is automatic.

Interesting enough if you look in Help>About Mozilla Firefox you'll see it's Version 3.0 without mentioning RC1.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A milestone

I'll be going to my friend's party coming Sunday to celebrate first month of his baby boy. His torture has turned into joy.

I wouldn't say this is his destination it's just a milestone and beginning of a lot more learning, again enjoy it. There'll be certainly hardship then earn it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

PDF preview handler

One of the feature I like in outlook 2007 is that you could preview MS document with the message window. PDF document is supposed to be one of those document that can be previewed like other Microsoft documents. It worked for a while then failed and I don't know how to fix that.

Today I discovered workaround using Foxit Preview Handler which works even better than the default handler.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sheet Music

I used to get free download of Sheet Music from here. I have collected quite a lot at home. The downside is that these papers can't be neatly organized.

Recently I decided to spend money to get a proper book such as below

I'm returning to K332 second movement which I have done some years ago.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Vista your second chance

It was just more than a year ago that I tried Vista. Sunday morning woke up early having not much to do I ran upgrade from XP to Vista again.

The upgrade was slow and there was only 1 slight glitch overall everything was a lot better than last year. The PC was online all the time and there wasn't any driver issues except that I had to download printer driver manually from HP for my 1020 LaserJet. Surprisingly after a whole year driver like this isn't in Vista database.

The user experience is definitely a lot better than last year. I haven't been able to get SP1 yet as there could be few more updates to install before that. Now the MBR created by Grub during the ubuntu installation has been rubbed off I'll be installing ubuntu again which I have downloaded the latest 8.04 LTS released 24th last week.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Study self

Why do we want to understand oneself? We are not of our own creation we know so little about this creature named self.

When I was a lot younger I learnt a bit of Palmistry and other fortune telling tricks from a uncle. It didn't quite help to understand myself obviously I wasn't able to acquire the lost art. When I got older I come across astrology. I didn't understand or believe in those things either.

There are however some truth in all these things, e.g. the basic traits of Scorpio and that reference in wiki to Chinese 'Pig' surprised me

The Indian equivalent of Scorpio is Vrishchika. The Chinese equivalent is thought to be the strong, resolute Pig, whose lunar month is 8 November - 6 December

Given that this is western materials the analysis about Pig I would say is pretty accurate. After all these years I think I know a bit about a Pig born in the month of a Scorpio.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

iPod Touch

Got iPodtouch today. It's a 32G at $512 or local dollar $4,000.

It's a lot thinner than I thought it is. I have now sync my near 10G of music and there are still a lot CDs left in the shelf that have yet to be imported to the library. I hope 32G is enough.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

iTunes cover flow

You won't get album artwork in your iTunes unless you have an iTunes Store account. The workaround is that firstly you get a redeem code from here you could then redeem a few free songs from iTunes Store by creating an account. The good thing is that you don't have to enter credit card details yet. You'll have to fake that you live in the US so unless you really are familiar with the place you'll need to try your luck for some zip code here.

PS [edited]: I got my PC reformatted a few times with iTunes library flushed out. Found this good Senuti freeware which can import all my music from my iPod back to the iTunes library.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Revisiting past

I have not written much recently. If you have subscribed my entries by email you probably have received a few recently. I have cleared all my tags a while ago and I was just revisiting my old entries and tagged them. When these old entries are updated Feedburner must have considered them new entries and send them off to subscribers.

It is actually enjoyable at times to read about my past. We Chinese do eat 'sweet and sour' together. 'Bitter melon' has never been my favorite when I was a kid, I was just unable to understand why parents (most of them) like it. I start to understand why when I get older you'll like bitterness, antique, going to places that you have childhood memories etc.. for no reasons. No matter what tastes those memory are we just like going back, now I'm a father and have been telling tales to my boy I know why.

Bear with me if you are getting old entries posted to you. It's not bad revisiting your past once in a while just don't hang around for too long. We need to keep on making past that we don't regret for later revisit.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Email subscription

I didn't know my Feedburner email subscription service wasn't working until my friends tried to use it. It first appeared that the Google site search has hijacked the subscription popup window. I realized that it was something to do with the form tag. There was a missing /form tag that caused that. The atom feed links for posts and comments have also been updated using that latest codes from the default K2 theme.

Now that is fixed and that 'subscribe' group is now placed at the very bottom of the sidebar.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Rotary Club

I didn't know what they really are until the 'free lunch' last week. I read about them afterwards. Of course their name in the community is well known but seeing is believing.

I was asked by my friend to speak as guest speaker at the luncheon. Lucky that I have picked a topic that I have some authority on. I met a group of very senior people in the community they are all expert in what they do.

There were some problems with my MacBook that I brought along. Not a big deal even Bill Gates screwed up at Keynote speech. I brought my MacBook but I forgot to bring the miniDVI to VGA adapter. I realized that while walking to the venue I then walked back to a shop where I know I could buy Apple accessories. My god that shop was closed for renovation. Plan B was to use the notebook available at the venue so it was few minutes of converting the powerpoint from 2007 to 2003 version then transfer that file over. The very nice IBM notebook available there couldn't take my Toshiba 4G thumb drive! I then have to get another thumb drive to complete that simple task of transferring one file.

The powerpoint went smoothly except the little animation for a few photos didn't show up.

You must have a Plan B in life!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hardy Heron arriving 24th April

I have now tried beta for both ubuntu and kubuntu of 8.04. Just did a fresh install few days ago for ubuntu 8.04 beta that confirms my understanding that kubuntu build isn't the same as ubuntu. I prefer to stick with ubuntu. According to this final release is expected 3 weeks from now.

If you are about to try beta I suggest a fresh install over upgrade from 7.10. You won't be getting the same desktop look and fresh install is better.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Hardy Heron I can't hear you

I have tried couple of alphas for the forthcoming 8.04 Hardy Heron. Just tried the latest beta last weekend. It was a perfect upgrade. Run update-manager --devel-release in terminal or enter this line in Alt-F2.

There were no errors no hiccups. Because of the relatively slow connection that day download took a while and the whole of upgrading took few hours. There were 1,060 files to download of total size close of 1G. May be it's faster getting iso image from here and do a fresh install.

At the end too bad the sound card isn't recognized by 8.04. It was OK at earlier alphas. My son can't play online games in ubuntu for a while.


I heard this on the radio - Perhaps Love by John Denver

Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you thru

O love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel

And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
Some say they don't know

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict full of change
Like a fire when it's cold outside
A thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

This is a song I always remember a philosophy forged into my mind even when I was young. There are 2 sides of a coin even for love. What is love, something indescribable or describable by almost anything.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

WordPress WXR import now works

This time Slicehost forum came to rescue. It's the /tmp folder that has been naughty. There is another /var/tmp which keeps file after a reboot but that doesn't need to be writable. Only /tmp has to be for temporary files. This is causing WXR import to fail.

Sister's site is now back to live.

Because I Learn is back

Everything I know failed, WXR import and mysql import are useless to me.

I used a temporary WP install to hold the content of 'Because I Learn' in this server which I imported content from into this Habari site. Last night I swopped the folder, i.e. 'Because I Learn' domain is pointing to that temporary WP installation directory by using mv dir1 dir2 command. This temporary WP site is now pointing to a almost blank install. Because I Learn is now back to live.

I have shouted for help in WordPress support 4 times, haven't heard a thing yet. From Slicehost forum someone suggested that I check out write permission of the /tmp folder. Reading this article I'll be learning something new.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WXR upload failure

I have done this a number of times don't know why suddenly it doesn't work. Thanks again Site5's good support I have renamed my prime account name there such that I could move couple of subdomain WP sites to my new server. Renaming of the prime account name was done within minutes then it was pretty easy creating CNAME records and switching DNS at the domain registrar.

I have been using WordPress svn copy for my sites. The WXR upload failed on me. I thought that was write permission problem so I chmod 777 . the wp-content directory to make it work. It failed again.

WXR import failed

I also found that theme files are not writable so I did chmod -R 777 . again making sure it changes access permissions recursively to all files and directories. I could now update theme files but importing of WXR file is still not possible.

Both svn and stable release 2.3.3 have been tried. I don't know what else could be done apart from using MySql dump, change url reference and MySql import. I have shouted for help at WP's forum but so far heard nothing.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Why learn/use Linux

Read this interesting article about 'the REAL reason we use Linux'. Can't agree more in my case, being a newbie with only a few months with Linux, I will add using his paragraph titles

because it's fun

I say pain is part of fun so it's all fun I would say. I broke *buntu a dozen of times and reinstalled them, that was fun. I have tried more than a dozens of different distros and alpha's of ubuntu...and pretty comfortable with command line because I can type fast. You'll know what I mean if you have installed XP or upgraded to Vista before, that's real pain.

it's fun to use the command line

If you know what to type and type it correctly of course. If you don't know what to enter at command line, google it, you'll find answers in no time. I was pretty good at Windows cmd prior to version 3.1. It was Microsoft's cunning plan to spoil us with GUI only. With fun taken away and fund in their pocket.

Linux gives you complete control

I haven't learnt everything I should yet and I'm not yet in complete control. If I lost control I could start again.

Linux isn't widely used

It's cool I'm a Linux user and I know what sudo means.

Linux is free

I have no sense of guilty using it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Moving download links

I am gradually moving download links from my site here to here at this site. Thanks Tinyau again for coaching me how to do it with his half done download counter plugin.

The barebones series of Wordpress template was a learning process. I did a short programme to visualize how a basic template is formed, it's moved here. It's the same for any blogware as far as layout and CSS are concerned. It's the final step, i.e. putting the codes behind the template, that is different. Eventually I want to do the same for Habari templates. As the Habari development is still ongoing may be I'll do that later.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

IE8 beta

If you like new things here is IE8 beta 1 download.

Just tried that. It can't get along with Google toolbar and homepage so I can't live with that.

Salute to Heeah

Heeah is the Four fingered pianist, saw her on TV last night. If she could do Chopin's Fantasy-impromptu with four fingers why couldn't I do Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in 10?

These days we have too many choices, temptation and not enough dedication and discipline. We are losing our grip to live a better life. Most of us don't even know what a better life is.

In the programme Heeah's mother mentioned many times that 'it's like a war everyday'. She has been harsh on Heeah obviously she survived the war. We don't want our next generation to suffer war what could we do to teach kids to be as strong as those who did?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Flock 1.1 beta for Linux

Installed Flock 1.1 beta in my ubuntu. FAQ for linux installation is here. Unless you are running Ultima Linux you'll need few steps to install.

To my surprise Flock doesn't look the same as Firefox Its fonts rendering is very different even if I have set them exactly the same. I prefer Firefox.

Hardy Heron too soon for me

I never fear trying new things. Saw this in Distrowatch so I tried the easiest approach first of course from command line update-manager -d. There were couple of errors when applying the changes after the download of some 988 files. I then also tried the alternative which is getting a CD image from here.

The nice thing to start is that it has native support of my pretty 'outdated' 7 series video card and support widescreen without activating restricted drivers. Sabayon is the only other distro I have tried that does this right from at the installation step.

There are a few things that stopped me from using this, e.g. I have 2 NIC and it failed to identify which one is in use. Software updates were done eventually with manual configuration with couple of 'broken' patches so I can't go any further. May be it's still a bit early.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Be open and share!

Very rarely I enjoy reading things that I found randomly on Internet. End Software Patents is rare and I read the whole site. An interesting link that I enjoyed reading is by Philip Greenspun, the one who first designed one click ordering, about history of computing/internet inventions.

I like simple stuff because handling complicated issues is tough. I distill, extract, transform, convert complicated issues to simple things that I could decide on. I believe all complicated issues can be resolved by a 6 years old kid if one can see through irrelevant matters. What else you really have learnt after kindergarten anyway.

Confessions of a Patent Holder is also good and I like it simple, i.e.

Patents should be allowed for:
  1. devices with mechanical components

  2. physical compounds that can be weighed on a scale.

Patents should never be awarded to:
  1. Ideas

  2. processes, recipes, software programs

This is so simple and beautiful. In management we learn to follow other's footstep hoping that we could be as successful as they are. We must be infringing millions of patents if we have read books about GE, Toyota, Intel, Apple or Adam Smith.

May be we simply stop sending people to law school. The concept of give a little, get a lot isn't easy to embrace, perhaps we need students to study harder philosophy in schools if they ever teach that.