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Deutsch Level 3

German level 3 is much harder than German level 2 I had taken last term. The class is much smaller, and we had to speak in German for practice. The teacher also speaks a lot more German this time, even though she is speaking slow, I could only understand about 50%. There was one grandma in the class started German level 1 with me back then, and two woman from my German level 2 class. There are also two new guys join us this time. Out of the six people in the group, four has a German boyfriend / girlfriend. Oddly enough, the grandma is one of them. And no, my girlfriend is not a German. I guess love is a major factor pushing someone to learn a new language. For the remaining two, which is me and another guy, the motivation of learning is to visit German in near future. With this much more in depth training, I hope I’ll at least able to carry out basic conversation during the World Youth Day in August.

ISIC

International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is a necessity to travel in Europe. This green little card let you purchase flight and rail tickets in the discounted student fare. The problem is only full time students are qualified to apply this card. This term I am only taking the M.Eng. project course, so technically I’m a part time student. Fortunately, the student society of SFU handles the issuing of the ISIC card and the checks of full-time status is very lax. It’s just a glimpse of the unofficial transcript by the student volunteer at the encounter to verify the applicant is taking full time course load. Thanks to the computerized of the school records, the unofficial transcript is simply a print out from the website. Therefore I can easily change my status to full-time with a minor fix in the HTML file. Mind that I don’t think it is an act of forging document, since the unofficial transcript is not a legal document after all. Moreover, I strongly believe that it is plain wrong to have price discrimination against part-time student. By getting the ISIC card thru the loop hole, I’m merely exercising my right to the discount benefits. Today, I feel good that I had beat the system once again.

After break up

The relationship between ex boyfriends and girlfriends always has to handle with care, especially when both of the couple are your friends. Extra precaution have to taken into account to make sure both parties will not showing at the same time to your events. Otherwise, it may bring embarrassing moment to the whole group. Sometimes I wonder why it is so hard to step back from a relationship to friends. Although I had similar experience with my ex, cut all the contact after broke up, yet I still don’t understand. I guess only time can heal the feeling of being hurt in order to be friends once again. I wish at some time in the future, my usual gang will be united and hang out like in the old days.

Quote of the day: Stone age did not end for the lack of stone, and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil. – from an article on energy crisis in the Economist.

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.