I met several old boys in a wedding a few weeks ago thru special connection of some MCS girls. Thru the quite complex linkage, somehow me and Edwin are invited to play soccer with other old boys. Since I had started playing soccer for a few times and already bought the gears, why not take the chance to get connections with the old boys here in Vancouver. They are practicing for the upcoming Lasallian Soccer Tournament held in L.A. Too bad that this summer I’m so busy that I can’t join the soccer trip. I can imagine it would be fun to have so many old boys from North America getting together. The practice is not as competitive as the soccer game at work, but still I’m quite exhausted after the game. The group then go to have dinner together. There are many fun stories and lots of laughs. One thing I discovered from an old boy is a cheaper way to buy cars. The tick is never buy a car from the salesperson in the showroom. After you had make up your mind on the models and options, and get some quotes from different showrooms, go to ask for the fleet department. The fleet department usually takes corporate orders, but they also takes walk in retail customers. Their price is much better than the sales in the showroom. The only concern is that they cannot compete with the sales, so makes sure you haven’t talk to any sales in the same showroom to get the cheap deal.
Tonight after meeting with my supervisor at SFU Harbor Center, Pat came over pick me up to have dinner together. I always drive by that area but rarely slow down and walk around the blocks. The restaurant we went is by the water front of False Creek, on the other side of the noisy crowded Yale Town. Although it is a bit cold today, we sat on the outside and over look the ship yards. Haven’t had time to enjoy a romantic dinner with Pat for quite sometime, so tonight is pretty relaxing for both of us. After dinner, Pat suggested we walk along side the water front. I observed that there are so many dog owners walking their dog in the area. I wonder where all the dogs come from, there are only apartments in the area. I feel sorry for the dogs who has to locked up in the small apartments for the whole day. We also went to check out the Urban Fare, which is one of those upscale supermarkets. It seems that this kind of organic food stores are so hip and trendy these days. However, as an engineer myself, I couldn’t understand why people would fall for those over-priced fancy items. Why would someone pay $7 for a bottle of water from Norway or $10 for a canned Salmon Chower soup? That hippy image is so skin deep, those high income urban people are all brained washed by the corporate marketing campaign to accept that particular style of living.
I’m still struggling whether should I take the advantage of the computer bundle from Microsoft and AMD. The deal is part of the Tech Road Show package, with sell 64-bit AMD CPU, Asus mother board and 64-bit XP for US$250. The hardware alone already costs $500. The catch is that you have to attend the show in person to pick up the package. My linux box is running on an old P3 733MHz and it’s about time to upgrade. So on top of the MS/AMD bundle deal, I only need to shell out another $200-$300 for a case, RAM and harddrive. The whole new computer would cost less than $600. My only concern is that I don’t have much time to setup the new server.
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Today I come across an interesting on-line radio station. It has been operated for quite some time, and apparently ignored by the main-steam media in Hong Kong. I get to know about it because a forum I often visit is introduced by one of their programs, with a link provided to download the recording. The name of the radio station is very grass-rooted, even a bit misleading. It is not a communism party mouth piece, rather it is organized by a group of enthusiastic independent minded in Hong Kong after the last year’s shutting up of famous talk-show hosts incident. The programs has a lot of variety, but mainly focus on different kind of talk shows. Among the hosts of the programs, there are some well known names like council members or writers on newspapers, usually the name you can associate with those who represent the less fortunate to fight against the unjust authorities. So far I had only sampled a few programs, the quality varies. I would probably give follow it a while and if time permits, I may could become a loyal listener of some programs. The radio station is a non-profit organization and its operation expense rely solely on private donation. There is no commercials in the programs and refuse to accept money from business or political groups. If I like the program, I’d probably donate a small amount via paypal to show my support.
Please follow this link to visit their website.
The only big news for all the geeks around the world happened today is that Apple annouced it will ditch IBM/Freescale and switch to Intel processors in the future. That could means the Macintosh strike back after it lost the OS war to Microsoft. Every analyst said there will be a hugh risk for Apple to migrate its the software which is the major differentiating factor between a Mac and a Windows machine. Those guys defined lacks technical insight of how OSX works. OSX is just an UI layer sitting on top of the a FreeBSD kernel. It is not that complicate to port OSX to x86 machines, probably it only have recompiling all the libraries. I can already sense that Steve Jobs is trying to get even on Bill Gates. Here is my prediction, somehow the OSX for x86 will be hacked to work with non-Mac Intel machines. There will be a version someone leaked into all major peer-to-peer download sites. Once OSX for x86 had gathered enough momentum in the underground world, Apple will launch it as an alternative to replace Windows. The battle of OS is getting interesting once again. Windows, OSX or Linux, who can domain the desktop market?
Today finally Charlie conquered my home. I was sick last night and slept for 16 hours straight skipping dinner. This morning Pat prepared some chicken rice soup for me and came to visit me with Charlie. It was Charlie’s first time taking an elevator, it was so scared that it refused to get inside. I have to kick its butt to get it moving. Charlie went into my place and sniff around. We put Charlie in the balcony while we were having brunch. After lunch we walked Charlie at the park next to the golf course near my place. Charlie was so happy that it can visit so many new places. Lucky that I wake up early this morning, or Pat was planned to have Charlie to use its licking attack to wake me up.
Today is the 2nd faith formation session of the WYD team. In order to prepare for the long walk in Koln, we went to do hiking in Lynn Headwater Park. The first half of the hike is pretty nice, just flat gravel trail along the river. The second half is a bit tough, we have to go up and down on the hill side and even hike up to the peak viewing points. I volunteered myself prepared lunch for the group, so I made everyone a sandwiches last night. Pat complains about QC problems on her lunch, but at least no one is sicked. At one of the look out area up in the hills, we have a good view of Vancouver. Between us and the city, there is a huge forest area. I wonder, how did Vancouver look before all the trees are cut down, the land are turned into roads and buildings. Everyone enjoy the hike with praise and worship, station of the cross and faith sharing, except me. I’m fine with the church stuff, and I’m also fine with the long walk. What really bothers me is my running nose during the whole trail. Partly it is because I caught a cold last night, and partly it is due to hey fever from the trees and grass. I also have sour knees haven’t recovered from last week’s fun run. The hike is not really fun for me. On my way home, my eye libs feel so heavy. I guess after I finish writing my blog, it’s time for me to take a nap. I had a feeling that I will sleep all the way until tomorrow.
Today when I was reading Economist, one of the colleague walked by cube, peaked his head and asked me what makes me read the Economist. That gets me start thinking how did I get start in this magazine. I have been known as the sole reader of the copy subscribed by the company library for a long time. Actually, tell you all a little secret, I also know the company’s password of the online account to access the Economist’s website. I first encounter with the Economist back in high school, I believe we are required to research on an article for the history course. Maybe my memory is a bit flickery, what does history has to do with the Economist? I start picked up reading it regularly when my dad had a subscription. At first I found the English of it a bit difficulty, not a surprise since it’s a London based magazine. After reading it for so many years, I had been accustomed to its style of writing. Presumably, if I’m given two paragraph from two different magazine, I could probably tell which one is from the Economist. One of my long term goal is to write like the Economist, a style that is clear, concise and yet sophisticated. Despite of the name of the magazine, it only has about one third of contain on business and economy. Its nature is a news magazine, with comments and analysis from the view point of an logical minded economist. The articles are more in depth than Times or Newsweek, with focus on the cause, reason and effects of current events than what had happened. Each article is well edited that takes me only 5-10 minutes to read. On average, it takes me 2-3 hours to finish an issue, depending on whether it has an interesting survey. There are so many good magazine out there, I used to read more periodic in university days when I lots of time. Now I can barely keep up with reading one magazine a week. My ideal reading list of each week would be, the Economist, IEEE Spectrum, Scientific America, National Geographic, New Yorker (I haven’t start on this one yet, due to its English is even more scary), PC Magazine, Next Magazine (chinese), Harvey Business Review, IEEE Computer, IEEE Communication, and last Computer Gaming World
There is a new reality show on TV called Beauty and the geek, which I found the idea is quite genius. It’s a mix of blind date and competition game show. The show pairs up several teams of hot girls and nerdy geeks. Each partner in the team has to use their strength to help the other one overcome challenges targeting his or her weakness. For example, the tests includes car repair for girls and ball room dancing for the guys. It’s funny to see how people in the two extreme ends of social spectrum cooperate to win the grand prize. I guess to make the show more interesting, the participants are chosen in a way that they are typical stereotyped blonds and geeks. Indeed I found the mind of man and woman ain’t the same, the show just exaggerate the difference and present it in a very funny way. I’m just thinking of a similar reality show for the Canadian market by pairing up a English speaker who know little french with a french speaker who know little English.
Recently, I got overwhelmed by church activities. There are too many meetings and events going on, and I am stressed out since it eats into my private time. Preparation for Worth Youth Day is good, but do we need to spend so much time doing all these things? Someone may prefer better prepare themselves spiritually, while someone simply don’t have such a need. Why force everyone follow the same path on spiritual quest? Tonight I had wasted 3 hours in yet another tumid meeting regarding the up coming St. Mary fund raising event, which should last no longer than 1 hour. I feel that we have way too many fund raising activities and it really bothers me. I rather spent the time working on my thesis or even sit back to relax a bit. All church activity should be on volunteer basis. Once someone committed the minimum effort, others should not push more works onto his plate than he is willing to take. Making everyone share the equal amount of work doesn’t make sense at all, since everyone’s expectation is different. Some people always complain they had did more work than others. But they gladly signed themselves for the job at first with no one forcing them. They never consider the option of doing less, which is perfectly fine with most people who want less work. Church stuff is not like real work, people don’t get pay for their service and there is no measurement on deliverable. I’m sure God doesn’t care how much time we put in, as long as we had made some effort. Serving God more may indeed accumulate more treasure in the heaven. The question is suppose that every resident of heaven is equally happy eternally, then what is the use of having more treasure if it can’t buy you more happiness?