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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think I am really getting old. Tonight I went to a bar, Bar None, in Yale Town with Pat and her friend, I found myself not really enjoying going to those places, I think the music is too noise and meaningless, the people there are doing nothing really interesting except maybe someone is trying to pick up someone. I felt tried and bored at 12a.m. already. I remember I used to go clubing quite alot in university days, and I did enjoy it. Now, I would rather go to a jazz bar or piano lounge with life performance. Why people like to hang out in the street at night? I can no longer understand it although I was part of them. I prefer to stay home to get some work done or catch up with my readings and writings. I always think myself is an extrovert but it seems I had became more like a typical introvert engineer.
Today during lunch Bob Bailey, the CEO of PMC, sat with our table. I knew this is going to happen when we picked his usual table in the first place. This is the first time I had ever talked to him since I joined the company. He is pretty much up to my expectation, a typical CEO. Can’t really say I like him or dislike him, he just exists, so my concern is how to make him most beneficial to myself. Most of the conversation are weather talks, nothing much other than bragging long hours or questions about the prespective of our products. His response is pretty typical too. At last I put up my courage to bring up the idea of giving two monitors to every engineer to increase productivity. He seems quite interested in the idea and asked me to give him follow up information. So I wrote up a memo in the afternoon and send it off to him together with the reseach paper I had. I don’t know what this will lead to, probably he will just throw it away without looking. If he indeed like the idea, then finally I will have dual monitors after trying so many times. I have nothing to lose anyways.
I’m so upset today, my website at home got hacked and the front page is defaced. I suspect it is due to a loop hole in the Apache server since port 80 is the only port opened to my linux box thru the router. So I patched Apache to the latest version at once and re-store my portal page. Luckily the SQL database is not affected or I’d lose all my recent articles. I just don’t understand the mind of those hackers, what do they gain from wacking others’ web server? Why can’t they spend their talent in more useful place, such as hacking the bank system for real money or hack and leak out secret documents for our amusement? Targeting amature web hosts for their low security linux box is not a real accomplishment at all. After I had my thesis completed, I’ll definely re-install my linux box to tighten up the security, and probably give my website a renovation which I always wanted to.
My name Horace is originated from the God of time keeping in Greek (not Geek) mythology. I used this the opening line in my Toastmaster timer speech. Unfortunately, a good opening doesn’t lead to a smooth ending. I had too many um/ah and dead air during my speech. I also forgot to address the chairman and the fellow toastmasters in the beginner and lead the forum back to the chairman at the end. I hope I will do better next time.