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auto audio system

Today during lunch, we had talked about the trouble of burning CD to play in car. The topic naturally extended to the iPod adapter come with the latest BMW models. Somehow Ray Woo pointed out why can’t we simply have a audio system takes compact flash of SD cards? There are already audio players with mp3 decoder that can read data CDs. It shouldn’t be too hard to add a memory card reader, which only cost $15 for PC used version. Downloading songs to memory card is much more convenient than burning CD, and a 1GB memory card is big enough for any trip. I feel about disappointed about myself that I didn’t think of this idea early. Anyways, now after I had gave it a second thought, I can figure out why no one made such device yet. It’s purely economical reason, a 1GB memory card will cost as much as the audio system. Unless the price of memory cards drop significantly, using them in car is still not very feasible.

rapture

Tonight’s Simpsons episode is really hilarious by making fun of the concept of rapture commonly believed among evangelist Christians. In the episode, Homer walked into a theater and saw one of those left below (mocking the left behind series) movie. He got scared by the apocalypse and some coincident (yet funny) signs of the end is near. Homer then derived the end time using some weird calculation and convinced everyone in town with yet another coincident. However, the end of world didn’t come as he predicted, so the crowd ditched him. It turned out that he forgot to count Jesus himself in the number of people in the last supper, thus his previous calculation is wrong. This time no one believes in him, and it turn out he is the only one raised to heaven. In heaven, Homer found himself not happy because he missed his family very much. He bring out one of philosophical dilemma of salvation in mild way. How can a person have eternal happiness in heaven if he see his family and friends are suffering in hell? In the end, Homer made God turn back in time and cancel the apocalypse. This episode has many in-jokes of many common mis-concepts in Christianity. The conversation between Homer and God about Jesus never be the same after he came back from Earth has a really nice touch humor. I don’t like the idea of rapture personally, and always think that it is the work of the devil to mislead innocent souls. However, I couldn’t realize the idea rapture is so ridiculous until it is portrayed by the Simpsons. This episode is highly recommended to the evangelist christian as a mind opener.

article debts

I had so many article debts, and I finally finished 3 articles in one day to repay some of them. Now all I still own is two articles to review a book and an anime. Since I had re-establish my website, I made promise to myself every time when I finish a movie, a TV series, an anime, a book or a CD, I will write some feedback before I start something on new. I figured out if I don’t write my feeling down, my time spent on those things will simply be wasted as I tend to forget them eventually. Although my writing is very slow and the thoughts not very organized, I found that writing reviews are very enjoyable. It forces me to view those stuff from a new aspect.

hacked again

Arr… Arr… My website got hacked again. The hacker exploited a security hole in phpBB 2.0.10. I should have upgraded my phpBB once I got the security warning. This time the hacker has a bit more conscience, he only defaced the front page of my forum, left a message tell me to patch my version of phpBB. Since it is partly my own fault not patching the files immediately, I not as mad as last time. Last night I spent quite some time installing the latest version of phpBB to fix the security bleach. I’ll just have to leave with my current setup a bit longer, once I had more free time I’ll get a new computer to setup a more secure server. My grand scheme is to integrate phpBB (forum), Word Press (Blog), Coppermine (Album) into a coherent website. I’d also like to add databases to display random quotes, facts about myself and interesting background pictures. The crowd jewel of my site will be an on-line version of my mp3 archive completed with sorted catalog and search features.

PC Magazine

I have been a read of the PC Magazine since grade 9. It was the most popular computer magazine back then. Another computer magazine I used to read is the Byte Magazine, which flopped a few years ago. In Hong Kong imported magazine was expensive and hard to find. Being a poor student, the only place I could read PC Mag was at the central library, which close to where I had my math tutorial. I remember after the tutorial lesson, instead of going home straight, I used to spend an hour or so at the central library, checked out the magazines every week. Among the columnists in PC Magazine, I had been a loyal of John C. Dvorak, whose articles have good insight into the trends of the computer industry. I think my opinions on high tech related issues more or less had been influenced by him over these years. When I was waiting for my prescription at Safeway this evening, I browse the magazines section to kill time. To my surprise, I couldn’t find PC Magazine on the shelf. How can PC Magazine not carried by the biggest supermarket chain in Canada? The only logical conclusion is that it is not selling well, and Safeway decided to drop it. I have a bad feeling that PC Magazine is going to disappear soon, when its parent company ZD publication decided to cut the lose.

vacation scam

Today Pat received one of those vacation scam phone call. A representative from Ramada Plaza Resort (RPR) claimed that she had won a luxury cruise vacation through lucky draw at the Vancouver food festival. Pat get suspicious when the caller asked for her credit card number and decided to hang up. Later on she searched the web on more information, it turn out that this RPR is well known for scam people and the US government is filing law suits against them. Instead of getting a free vacation, you will end up paying thousands of dollars for unexpected charges and upgrades. The caller had purposely misled you to believe you are getting a vacation for several hundred bucks of administration fee. But what you really got is an option to purchase a discount tour package at a marked up price and a promotion video. Since they taped only part of the conversation to their advantage, it is not easy to get refund from the credit card company. Beware of this kind of telephone scam, if it sounds too good to be true, it is very likely something is wrong. Only greedy and dumb people will fall into their traps. Lastly, think twice before entering any lucky draw by source without credibility. They may simply use information you gave them to scam you.

single

For a person almost at the age thirty still remaining in single seems a bit unusual these days. A friend of mine at work unfortunately falls within this category. When the group get together and run out of topic, the focus will somehow always shift to this poor guy’s lack of girlfriend. We had tried to offer helps and advices to hook him up with some girls. Normally, a single person would show at least some interest to those girls or reflect the question by claiming he already has potential dates. However this friend of mine always dodge those conversations, that makes us even more curious on the true reason behind his single status. If his claim of being a straight normal man is is true, I couldn’t understand why he never show any interest to any girls. Too bad that the relationship between him and one of the two other single female coworkers doesn’t work out. Either (or both) of them should be quite a perfect match for him. Ar.. somehow this just reminds me the first song of Miriam Yeung’s latest album.

first goal

I had my first goal in the soccer game tonight, quite an accomplishment. However I lost 5 chances to have my 2nd goal. Too bad that it will be the last indoor game for a while. Starting from next month, we’ll try playing outdoor field which is free. The only bad thing about playing soccer late at night is I couldn’t sleep right away as the body is still in adrenaline rush. So I have to relax my mind a bit before going to bed.

surrender to God

Today is the first faith session organized by the Archdiocese of Vancouver for everyone going to the World Youth Day. Out of my surprise, everyone form our parish team went to the session, and we were probably the biggest group there. The session start off with ice breaking function, which it’s a good way to know more new friends that you may have to depend on in Koln. During the event, the MC tricked me to think that I have the chance to meet the new Pope representing Vancouver. I was over joyed and jumping up and down, then really let down after knowing it’s just a gag. The event is followed by a sharing from a guy, Paul, who walked from Vancouver to Denver as part of his pilgrimage in 1992 WYD. In his talked, he mentioned about how he learn the lesson of surrender to God and have to react upon surrender.

The 2nd part of the message about reaction to God enlightened me most. Usually the message about surrender to God stopped after the first part, only saying you have to listen to God and be glad on whatever he gave you. I never agree with the idea of predestination. It happened during his trip to Denver, when he and his friend rested in a national park and to prepare their spirituality, it was raining non-stop for the whole week. At first they pray for good weather, later they realize the heavy rain must be God’s will, so they started to accept it. They vowed to take everything God gave them gracefully without a question. After a few days, they finally able to start a fire to get warmth, somehow the wind just suddenly change direction and blow all the smoke to them. They try to accept the smoke at first, but realize they will be choked to death if they don’t move. Here the lesson of surrender to God take a new turn, after surrender and accepted what had happened is not enough, you also have to give a response to God. Suffering itself is only a mean to an end. The key is to find out what God really prepared for you, so you can skip or shorten the suffering part. Blindly take suffering as a gift per se is plain silly.

Car wash and BBQ

Contrary to last night, I went to BBQ at Jackson’s place with a big group of colleagues tonight. I arrived a bit earlier so I also washed my car using Jackson’s fancy car washing equitments. He got everything a car washing shop has, like the pressure wash, special rinsing hose, waxing machine and blow dryer. The food tonight is mainly leftovers from last week. In addition to just eating we played a few games of pool, watched two Stephen Chow’s old movies at the same time as playing boardgame and poker. I found I enjoy spending the night in a house party more than going out to clubbing. I’m really getting old.