Essay Draft

In my philosophy class, the professor is kind enough to review the draft of our final essay, give us some useful feedbacks and allow us fix up the problem before hand it in. I just got the feedback today. He crossed out almost 1/3 of my essay that are irrevalent and unnecessary to my argument. I spent almost a day reading an article form Marx so that I can criticize his original argument, instead of second hand argument from the textbook. The professor say I am too ambitious. It is like trying to squeeze another full length essay into the final 1000 words of my essay. He said I should focus in develop my existing arguments, which is good enough for a 2nd year course. He also said I have a tendency to trash talk and disrespect Marx in my paper. In a philosophical paper, both side of the argument should evaluated fairly. Although I may think Marxist is rubbish, I should still attack it with respect. First of all, if it is truely rubbish, then it doesn’t worth your time to even attack it. If it is not complete rubbish, then you should at least be fair, try your best salvage some useful points from his argument and pay due respect to the author shedding some lights on the problems. Most important, if you just trash talk your opponent, he will simply ignore you. Philosophy search for the truth, dialog is a way to reach the truth. If there is no dialog between the two side of the argument, the thesis and anti-thesis will not yeilds a better synthesis.

Headlight

Both the headlights of my car are burned. One of them was burned for a few weeks, I didn’t bother take it to repair until the next service appointment. The other headlight was burned last night, so I have no choice but take it back to the service center. It is quite dangerous to drive in the dark in snowy days. The fix is very quick only a few took 15 minutes. It is actually quite easy to change the lightbulb. I see the serviceman unscrew the cap behind the headlight took out the burned bulb and put back the new one. The service is quite good, I even got a free light bulb for the tail light since the serviceman didn’t check the warning signal. I still suspect I was overcharged by the service center since the original light bulb from Volvo is quite expensive. Later in the afternoon, I checked the web and found generic light bulb cost 40% less. If any light bulb is burn next time, I will change it myself. I saw the serviceman how to do it, I should be able to follow the instruction as well. The only problem is if both headlight are burned, I cannot wait for the new light bulbs come in mail.

Snowday

Today is my first snowday in Vancouver. The HR sent out an email early in the morning encourage employees work from home instead of coming into the office. Half of the team is not in today. I found working at home is not very productive. I end up have a really long lunch and drove my mom to supermarket. There are just so many distractions and worst of all the network connection is quite slow. It is impossible to debug any waveform at home. I can only do some maintance of the testbench involves only text editing. It is nice to stay home and relax for an extra day. In order to leave the impression I am actually working hard at home, I keep sending emails every couple of hours. Even I finish the work, I would send out the emails slowly and seperated by some time interval. I don’t think working from home is feasible. Unless you live alone and have a home office, so no one will borther you.

Waxing

Today, after many procastination, I finally take out my skis and bring them to ski shop for waxing. I was lazy at the end of last season, I didn’t wax it before putting it back into storage, so I have to do it before this season begins. I went to the ski shop I used to go to and there is back logged until next sunday for waxing. The technician only comes in once a week in the ski shop. I guess the volume of waxing in one shop is not enough to support a full time staff. The suddenly fall early snow in november makes people take out their ski and snowboard much earlier than last year. I went to another ski shop to wax my skis. Luckily their technician is in today and clear up most of the back log. So I can pick up the skis by wednesday. I can’t wait to go skiing next week. Too bad that the project havn’t tape out yet. It will look back skipping work to go to ski. If the project stick with its original schedule, it would be finished by now and I can just take some free days off to Whistler.

First snow of 2006

This year snow falls on Vancouver much earlier than usual. It is only november and we have our first snow fall. I used to live in Toronto and I am used to having everywhere covers in white during the winter. People here in Vancouver are not used to snow, so they think having a snow day is a big deal. The street is empty, many people stay at home avoid going out and the few cars on the road are driving much slower than usual. Other than the inconvinience having to shovel snow, I actually like snow. Sunshine is good only if I want to have outdoor activities on that day. Raining is quite annoying since the noise of the rain is quite and make everywhere wet. Snow is quite and dry. You feel so peaceful by looking out to the street from inside a comfort warm place. You feel contented. No need to mention I loves skiing more than any summer sports. The first snow fall marks the beginning of the skiing season. I will take out my skis tomorrow and take them to waxing. I already planned going to Whistler next saturday.

Extension

Some of my friends at work received an email from the facility group asking them are they willing to change their phone extension. The Japanese office has moved to a new office, they want to be reached by dailing internal number. The computer service would to forward the calls from a block of continous extension to Japan to minimize their work in setting up the VoIP server. I think the sloppiness of the computer service department is no excuse causing trouble to other employees. It is not technically impossible to leave the extensions backward compabtable. They just want to save a few hours of work setting up the VoIP server. Changing your extension at work is quite disruptive. You have to tell all your friends you have a new extensions and print new business cards. Not to mention that printing new business card require a few level of management approval for those of us who don’t have to see any cilents. Time wasted by all the affacted employees would combined is more than the time saved by not setting up the VoIP server properly. Never mind that the time cost is higher in engineering department than in the CS department. They could probably get the co-op to simple jobs like configuring the VoIP server.

Class cancelled

Today my philosophy class is cancelled and I only found out seeing the notes in front of the class room. I wasted almost an hour went to downtown campus and came back. There is no easy way to notify the students not to come when a class is cancelled. Email is not very reliable since people rarely check their emails before get on the sky train. Online bulletin is equally useless since most people won’t check it regularly. Phone call can ganruntee the students will get the message but it may not be feasible to call the students one by one. Maybe the university should have a voice machine like the one used by telemarketer. You just have to register your phone number and the classes you are taking. The system will notify you when the class is cancelled. Students won’t mind machine voice as long as they are informed so their time is not wasted. There ain’t many class cancel every day and each messge is short, so a small machine can probably handle the work load of the whole university. Now the professor has skipped a class which I have paid for. Should the school refund 1/12 of my $500 tuition?

Popular Camera

I just found out flictr has a feature showing the most popular camera among its users. It is surprise to see in the catagory of compact cameras, the top 5 positions all belongs to Canon. To think a little bit more, actually this outcome is quite reasonable. In the professional camera catagory, it is a even split between Canon and Nikon. However the compact line of Nikon camera is just so and so. So Canon is naturally recommanded when new buyers who don’t know much about cameras asking advices from their photographer friends. Compact cameras from Sony and Panasonic seems quite popular, at least they runs lots of advertisement. The problem for Sony is their camera is over priced and use their proprietary memory stick, which is quite inconvinient. Panasonic is famous for their house hold electronics like rice cooker and microwave, customer won’t have much confidence in their digital camera yet. The market of camera is perfect demotration of the power of prosumers, who are usually the early adopters or the hobbists. They are usually the opinion leader among general consumers. Winning their support can swing the market share to your advantage by a large margin. Here is the link to flickr’s camera data.

Religion and politics

In western culture, there are two topics your generally avoid with new friends. They are religion and politics. The reason not to talk about these two topics is to avoid unnecessary conflicts. Religion and politics involves fundamental values of each person, which everyone may be different. It is almost impossible to determine the objective right or wrong of those value without going through boring acedamic discussion span across all the spectrums in philosophy. Instead, people choose to defense their value subjectively following their emotion. If the party involved do not know when to stop the discussion before it gest too deep, most often the conflict between values will turns into flaming wars ended with personal insult. The good thing about internet is you can talk about your religion and political viewpoint all you like with out fear jeopadizing any relationship. Your opponent may hate you from the guts because you deny their value of existance, but they can’t do anything to harm you. If the discussion turns into insults, you can just simpily ignore him. You can’t ignore people you meet in real life. The most thing you get from dicussion religion and politics on the internet is you get a sample of how people with different values will response. If you can’t void those topics in real life, you know what is the best way to steer away from the hot spots that lead to conflicts.

Classic love songs

Pat gave me a very cute CD of little kids singing classic love songs. I was playing it in my car these days. I drove a few friends at work to lunch today and they have some interesting response to the CD. One guy first comment that it is church songs, which is not true. After I pointed out those are classic love songs, he made an excuse by claiming he is too young to know those songs. The fact is that he is the oldest person in the car and some younger one recongize the songs. He just show his lack of knowledge in classic love songs. Then another person criticize the singing and said that he like the original version better. How can you compare the singing skill of a 10 years old kid with the super stars? He just don’t know how to apprepiate the cuteness in the kids’ voice, which is the differentiating factor of the CD. I guess someone really lack the cultural capacity to enjoy the CD. He fled my car after lunch to get a ride from someone back to work. I will play this CD whenever he get a ride with me. I think with more listening training, he will learn to not scared by the cute classic love songs sang by kids.