Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Extra Second Before New Year

Do you know we will have an extra second inserted on Dec 31? Make sure you adjust your clock accordingly, or you'll be celebrating New Year 1 second too early.

I am not kidding!

Timekeepers at the Royal Observatory of Greenwich will be adding a "leap second" of time to the clock on Wednesday, a method used sporadically over the past 30 years to offset the fractional slowing of the Earth's rotation.

The extra second will be squeezed in on Dec. 31 after 6:59:59 p.m. and before 7 p.m. ET. Combined with the extra day on Feb. 29, the extra second will make 2008 the longest year since 1992.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

May the reason for this season be with you throughout the year!

'Twas The Night Before Christmas
A Christmas Poem by Pastor Jim Kamerer

'Twas the night before Christmas and as I looked round my tent,
I couldn't believe all the money I'd spent
For trains and dolls, for trinkets and toys
Some for the girls and some for the boys.

I looked round once more to be sure things were right;
The kids were all in bed for the night.
I set up the track for the train I bought Ted,
The train went round twice and the battery went dead.

I put on my cap, my gloves, and my coat;
I went to Ames and over to Zayre.
You guess it my friend, no batteries there!
As I left the store a thought came to me,

I had one in the remote of the color TV.
Well, I placed that remote in my wife's favorite chair
I was ready for Christmas with hours to spare.
When out came my wife and punched that remote

And then said to me, "The TV's broke!"
So on with the coat, the gloves, and the cap
Out in the cold about ready to snap.
I went to K-Mart and stood in that line

From 8:35 'til a quarter past nine.
As I came to the checkout, my heart leaped with glee --
There was that one lonesome battery just waiting for me.
When from my behind I seen this hand slip
And grab that battery with a real tight grip.

I wheeled around and what did I see?
This giant of a man glaring down at me.
Well, I remembered an ad I had seen on TV
Buy a Big Mac, get your batteries free.

So, I bought me a burger I didn't want...
They were out of batteries, so on with hunt.
I finally found one at Servi-Star,
Paid for my purchase and made for my car.

When I entered the door of my humble shack,
My wife said, "What's this battery for I found in a sack?"
I was out there in the press, the push, and the greed
To buy me a battery I didn't even need.

At last I relaxed in my easy chair,
When this still small voice came out of somewhere.
"You're ready for Christmas with toys, tinsel, and tree
You've got it all together, but what about me?"

I fell on my knees and cried, "God, what have I done?"
I got caught up in the madness and neglected your Son.

The best gift of all you've given for free
Your Son, Jesus Christ, for sinners like me.
You sent Him to suffer the shame and the loss,
To shed his life's blood for me on the cross.

Well friend, I'll never forget ere I rest 'neath the sod,
The the greatest of gifts if given by God.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh What Fun...

The forecast for upcoming weekend is looking wonderful... 2-4 cm of snow with a low of -7C and a high of -3C, plus 10 kph wind.

It will be breezy for sure.. just in time for the Indonesian Society Christmas.

Oh what fun!

Monday, December 1, 2008

List of Books My Family Wants to Read

Indonesians are not known for their love of books. But luckily for us, our mother is a bookworm and our father is a student-at-heart-for-life. So their children inherit a love for books.

The following is a list of books my brother wants to read:
And my sister's book list:
From angku Fendy's:
From Chris:
I haven't read most of the books, but it would be interesting to know what they are all about. Looking at the list, though, I realize that our family has a very diverse interests; everyone is interested about something unique.

Oh well, I just hope the future generations will still like reading.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another E-book Reader: PRS-700

3 weeks after I got my first e-book reader, the PRS-505, Sony released a new e-book reader, the PRS-700.

At first glance, this looks really promising. The loading time is way better than the old model. For my collection of 175 books on SD card, it takes 6 seconds to load. In PRS-505, it takes 12 seconds. Page turns take half the time compared to 505.

It has a touch screen capability. Which means you have more ways to turn a page. Also, thanks to this ability, you can do search and highlight passages on the book you are reading. It comes with stylus, but using fingers will be as effective.

Another thing I love is the buttons. The new PRS-700 has "back" button, "next" and "previous" page button, "home", "search", "zoom", and "option".

The "home" button is really useful. Using PRS-505, when I want to switch between books, it takes anywhere between 5-10 clicks. Now, thanks to this "home" button, it cuts down the click to between 2-5.

In PRS-505, if I want to see the Table of Contents, I need to "close the book", find the "table of contents", and click on the relevant entry. And if you change your mind half way, you need to click as many time to get back to your old position. Well, no more of that. The "option" button makes the option to see/create/edit bookmarks/notes hovers. So click on that button, then tap on the option you want, and off you go. And if you decide to just continue reading your book from the previous position, a simple tap will bring you back.

Now, PRS-700 can do search and make notes. We need to clarify what it means by "search" and "notes".

If you are looking at your bookshelf, the "search" will search the term on the title of the book only. It wouldn't search the text within the book. I am not sure if it searches the author of the book. If you are reading the book, then search will search the text within that particular book.

And "notes" does not mean you can type your own notes. Nope. By "creating notes", it means that you are highlighting the text on your book, and if you go to the notes menu, all your highlights are displayed there, along with your bookmarks. This is probably the most confusing feature for me.

In total darkness, PRS-700 works like a charm. It comes with 2-setting lights that lights the screen nicely. The light is emitted from the left and right side of the screen. As a result, the text in the middle of the page is not as lighted-up as the side texts, but it's readable enough.

You do have to watch out your angle, though. If the light hits your eyes directly, you will see black spots before long.

Of course, if you use the lights, the battery will die faster. It only allows me to read 3-5 books of moderate length (Arsene Lupin Collection). With PRS-505 (no light), it took me about 1 week before I have to charge the battery. And I read extensively (4-5 hours a day).

Unfortunately, under general lighting, this one is worse than the previous model. It reflects lights, which means reading under the sun is a total no-no. You can see the reflection on the bottom left corner on the picture on the side.

And the deal-breaker is the contrast. PRS-505's white is light beige, and its black is black. For PRS-700, sadly, its white is a shade darker beige, and its black is grey. Which makes reading very tiring. I tried reading exclusively on PRS-700 for 1 day, and I can't survive. And that was only regular book with zoomed-in texts, not manga with super small fonts.

But I did get to learn new features with this model. Their "book collection" is prominently displayed on their home page, and that is one thing I love. Thankfully, I found out that even my PRS-505 has this capability. Now I can group my books by series such as "Sherlock Holmes", "Arsene Lupin", "The Three Investigators", etc. Note that grouping the books can only be done via Sony software on your PC. It's the same for both PRS-505 and PRS-700.

And since the light is so useful, I ended up buying a cover with lights for the 505 instead.

[photo to follow]

The light cover does not blur the texts, nor does it gray the texts out. It does reflect light, but you can just not use it with enough lights, and use it only in the darkness.

Oh, and did I mention that the external lights work better, even compared to the built-in lights in PRS-700? It uses 2 AAA batteries, too, so it doesn't suck your e-book battery power.

The PRS-505 costs $299 + tax
The cover with light costs $59 + tax
The PRS-700 costs $399 + tax

For me, 505 + external light combination is the most beneficial one for my need. I don't need fancy touch screen. And although it's annoying to click several times to get to where I want to, I can live with it. And the loading time and page-turning time does not bother me at all. That's why I refunded the PRS-700 and stick with 505 for now.

I know I am being picky with this review. But I am trying to get the biggest bang for my bucks, so to speak. Everyone has different needs, though. So think about what you want before committing yourself to one.

Hope this helps for those who are considering one!

Related links:
- E-book Reader: Sony Reader PRS-505
- Sony Reader Shortcuts

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Little Man Who Wasn't There

I love random quotations and out-of-context sayings. It just opens up endless possibilities as to the context and the circumstances of the sayings.

Today, a quoted poem from an American poet and educator Hughes Mearnes caught my eye:
As I was walking up the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish, I wish he'd stay away.

This is exactly the kind of poem that triggers imaginations. I was intrigued by the non-existent of the person that the writer wrote about. But after I think about it more, this is quite a creepy poem, probably belongs in the opening scene of a horror movie somewhere.

PS: The above poem is called Antigonish, or better known as The Little Man Who Wasn't There

Friday, November 7, 2008

E-book Reader

I love reading. Specifically, I love reading fictions and mangas. Unfortunately, most mangas I like are not available in Canada. Fortunately, most of them are scanned and translated into English by their Japanese-reading fans. So there are lots of them online, if you know where to look for them.

Having lots of manga jpgs means that I can collect the ones I like. But since they are not real books, it's kinda hard to re-read the mangas I have. I don't have a desktop, and the LCD monitor hurts my eyes once I stare at it for a long time.

Knowing my addiction for books (and mangas), we did some research and decided to buy Sony Reader PRS-505. Yup, I got the red one. The reader acts like a glossy-paper book. So even under sunshine, you can read it without difficulties (supposedly... I cannot test this with Vancouver's weather).

Some people ask me why I don't buy Amazon Kindle. If you live in USA, you can search books on Amazon.com for free from anywhere (no wireless charge). You can also buy the e-book version of released books for cheaper.

But for me, one major drawback is that Kindle only reads 1 type of data, and that is Amazon's own data encryption. If you have pdf or word or jpg, you need to email them to Amazon for conversion. And if you want Amazon to email the converted files directly to Kindle, then you have to pay for the data transfer.

Sony Reader can read pdf, txt, epub, jpg, bmp, and png files. Of course, with 6-inch monitor, we didn't know how good the manga quality would be -- whether it would be readable or not. So we went and bought one for testing.

The manga is readable. It might be a bit on the small size, but for me, it's good enough. We found out that the reader refresh faster when turning a pdf file compared to loading new jpg. So I print all mangas into pdf file.

If you have pdf words, those words can be zoomed (there are 3 sizes available). But pdf images cannot be zoomed. So the mangas need to be single-paged (portrait).

Sony Reader does not read .doc file. That's understandable, since .doc files depend on Microsoft OS. So I print the Word document into pdf format using Primo PDF. I have mentioned before that pdf words can be zoomed in. However, the format of the zoomed in page changes and is unpredictable. I like my book display to be neat. So when printing the document into pdf, I changed the original format to the following:
- Paper Size = 8.5 x 11 (default Letter size)
- Margin = 0.25" for all Top, Bottom, Left, Right
- Font = Arial Rounded MT Bold, 22 pt
The settings above will allow me to read the files without having to zoom in.

A side note. When printing with Primo PDF, you need to change the Document Properties (Title and Author). Sony Reader does not read your filename to determine Title and Author. It reads the properties instead. These properties cannot be changed once you have the pdf file.

Yesterday, I borrowed e-book from the library. The e-book is in protected form; it has expiry dates etc. I couldn't figure out how to transfer the borrowed book to my reader, though. The reader gives me a "protected file" error. I will try again to see if I can find a solution for this.

This reader also plays MP3 and AAC files via headset. The quality of the sound is ok. I haven't tried it extensively, since it will drain the battery faster. (According to the specification, the battery will last for 7,500 page turns).

I would love to have a 7-inch screen one if one is available. As of now, all e-book readers have 6-inch screen though. Also, the page-turning time is a bit slow. But overall, I am satisfied with this reader.

Next week, Sony will release a new generation of Sony Reader, the PRS-700. This one comes with touch screen and an improved software, among other things. According to one review, the page turn is faster (it acts like a regular LCD screen). Chris is hooked on the "touch screen" part. I want to try the LCD-like page-turns. We plan to test and compare both of them before making a final decision in which one to keep.

Related links:
- Another E-book Reader: Sony PRS-700
- Sony Reader Shortcuts

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Canadian Election Coming Up!

Next Tuesday, 14 October 2008, is election day for Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen, don't forget to go and vote.

We can make a difference in the way a nation is going, and it all starts with a vote. So do your part and vote!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tax-Free Saving Account in ING DIRECT

A while back, the government of Canada suddenly realized that Canadians did not save their money as much as they hoped. So, to goad Canadians into saving, they introduced the Tax-Free Saving Account (TFSA) that basically allows up to $5,000 per year contribution to grow tax-free.

How the TFSA Works
  • Starting in 2009, Canadians aged 18 and older can save up to $5,000 every year in a TFSA.
  • Contributions to a TFSA will not be deductible for income tax purposes but investment income, including capital gains, earned in a TFSA will not be taxed, even when withdrawn.
  • Unused TFSA contribution room can be carried forward to future years.
  • You can withdraw funds from the TFSA at any time for any purpose.
  • The amount withdrawn can be put back in the TFSA at a later date without reducing your contribution room.
  • Neither income earned in a TFSA nor withdrawals will affect your eligibility for federal income-tested benefits and credits.
  • Contributions to a spouse’s TFSA will be allowed and TFSA assets can be transferred to a spouse upon death.
This program will take into effect starting 1 January 2009. But ING DIRECT offers them now!

If you open a TFSA account with ING DIRECT now, you can contribute up to $5,000 (for this year), and at the end of the year, they will double your interest to cover for the tax. Your $5,000 will get tax-free interest (at 3% annual as of now) starting this year.

If you are thinking about opening a new ING DIRECT account, I would encourage you to use this Orange (referral) Key: 17472847S1. This way, if you deposit $100 or more for your initial deposit, you will get an instant $13 bonus. Quite a good deal, right?

PS: If you haven't heard of ING DIRECT before, these are the very basic introduction to them. They are by no means complete, so please do additional research before you commit anything.
  • This is an online bank (i.e., no ATM, no branches, no offices).
  • There is no fee and no service charge for any accounts.
  • They have decent customer service (according to my friend, a long-time ING customer)
  • You need to have another bank's chequing account before opening an ING DIRECT account. When you make your first deposit using your existing account's cheque, ING will link your ING account with your chequing account.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do-Not-Call List Going Live!

The Do-Not-Call List that I wrote about is going live this morning. You can register by calling the toll free number at 1-866-580-3625 or 1-888-362-5889 (for the hearing impaired). Alternatively, you can also visit their website, LNNT-DCNLgc.ca

Expect to be put on hold for a long time, or a very slow page loading, though. The website and phone lines are overwhelmed.

PS: You might also be interested in ioptout for opting out from hundreds of organizations contacts.

Friday, September 26, 2008

iGoogle - part 2

Yu huu, my old iGoogle is back (on Firefox)!

For those who do not know it, Google launched a new iGoogle and decided to put my account among the first adapters. I hated it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Keyboard Shortcut in Remote Desktop Connection (RDC)

When you start RDC, you can choose whether you want it to run in full screen mode or not. On the RDC connection window, click on "Options" -> "Display". For full screen mode, slide the remote desktop size option to the max, until it says Full Screen. Do not select your monitor resolution, as the RDC would then start in window mode.

Running in full screen mode will allow you using the same keyboard shortcuts as you usually use. ALT+TAB will shift between applications on the remote computer. START+D will show the desktop of the remote computer etc.

Which is great, but that means that the shortcuts won't work between our local computer and the remote one. We can always use a mouse, but programmers generally prefer keyboard shortcuts. So, how do we set so that the shortcuts work even when we are on RDC?

For our normal shortcuts to work, RDC must be just another application. So it needs to be in non-full-screen mode. To change back and forth between full-screen and window RDC, use CTRL+ALT+PAUSE or CTRL+ALT+BREAK. When the RDC is in window mode, the ALT+TAB wills shift between the RDC window and our local window applications.

When in window mode, there are some shortcuts that can help us navigate the remote desktop smoother. Here are some common ones.
  • ALT+PAGE_UP
    switches between applications from left to right (on the remote desktop);
    equivalent to ALT+TAB in normal shortcuts.

  • ALT+PAGE_DOWN
    switches between applications from right to left (on the remote desktop);
    equivalent to ALT+SHIFT+TAB.

  • ALT+HOME
    displays the start menu;
    equivalent to START key.

  • CTRL+ALT+END
    brings up the Window Security dialog box;
    equivalent to CTRL+ALT+DEL.

  • CTRL+ALT+BREAK
    switches the RDC between full screen mode and window mode
Now, how do you restart a remote computer? Generally, it's not allowed. And even if you have the permission to do so, the Shutdown option for the remote computer is usually disabled.

To restart/shutdown a remote computer:
1. Bring up the command windows (Start -> Run -> type "cmd")
2. Type "shutdown -r" to restart or "shutdown -s" to shutdown.
Note: Typing "shutdown" will give you an information about different options you have. It won't shutdown the remote computer yet.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Engaged for a Year

A year ago today, my sister and I got engaged (to our respective boyfriends, of course).

Since then, I have got married, and my sister has set a date for her wedding. Lots of our other friends got married as well, and some welcomed their firstborns to their family.

It's mind-blowing how everyone seems to grow up nowadays. And to think we used to worry about our exam grades not too long ago...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Seigi no Mikata

Ilove Japanese dramas. In addition to being funny and (sometimes) manga-like, it has a limit on the number of episodes as well, usually 9-12. No 50+ episodes for Japanese drama. You can safely bet that you get to see the ending of a story.

Anyway, I am in the middle of watching Seigi no Mikata: a story of an "evil" older sister and a "bullied" younger sister (of course this is told from the younger sister's point of view). "Seigi no Mikata" literally translates to "Ally of Justice". This term referes to, surprisingly, the older sister in this movie. Apparently, by doing something completely selfish (and sometimes downright evil), the older sister actually manages to make other people's lives better. Ha!

It's quite a funny story. Of course, as with any other Japanese dramas, we watch this one because:
1. the story is interesting enough
2. the actresses are pretty (we are following Shida Mirai from Sapuri, Tantei Gakuen Q, and now this one)
3. the actors are handsome/cute (though he's a bit young, we adore Hongo Kanata)

Actually, seeing this movie makes me a bit nostalgic, simply because Hongo Kanata resembles one of my friends from my birth city. And Kanata is a model! I guess that means that my friend could have been a model as well?

The Quintuple Eight

Have you heard? Clay Aiken's son was born earlier today, 08 August 2008, at 08.08 am. That's a lot of 8's.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Chrisye and Project Pop - Bur-Kat PV

Found this on youtube today. I love Project Pop. I very much enjoy the comedy in their songs.



Let me attempt to translate this song:
Him:
There is a sweet girl I have known for a long time
Her smile is cute, I remember it very well
If she grins, her beauty lasts; if she cries, it itches me
I fall in love, now everyday I am keeping up appearance
When we meet, I stutter "you are beautiful"

Friends:
If you really ca-ca-ca-cannot hold it
Prepare yourself to sa-sa-sa-say it
Confess quickly, you should say it quickly
Confess quickly, you should say it quickly

Him:
I thought about this for a long time
Men has to be brave to confess
"We are good friends,
But I always carry a torch for you"
Rather than keep on wondering
It's better to make an experiment

Friends:
Grab your chance quickly
Before others confess to her

Friends:
If you really ca-ca-ca-cannot hold it
Prepare yourself to sa-sa-sa-say it
Confess quickly, you should say it quickly
Confess quickly, you should say it quickly

Her:
In reality, I love you too
In reality, I like you too
But do not put your home on me
Let us keep on being..

Him:
Stop! Do not continue your words to me
Hey!

Him:
Forget it, forget it, forget all that I say
Forget it, forget it, forget all that I say
Just kidding, just kidding, I was only kidding with you
Just kidding, just kidding, I was only kidding with you
Happy, happy, I am still happy
Happy, happy, I am still happy
Funny song, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Harry Potter Movie 6 Trailer

The next installment of Harry Potter Movie will be out this November. The trailer is released today. You can view it below, or go to moviefone for the HD version.

Enjoy!

Do-Not-Call List for Canada

Finally!! On Sept 30, 2008, the natinal do-not-call list will officially begin operating. It means, I can opt never (for a period of 3 years) to receive any calls from telemarketer anymore (who seems to call during dinner time, movie time, or even bed time).

There are two ways to be on this do-not-call list. You need to either call Bell Canada, or register online at www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca. The telemarketers have 30 days grace period, which means you will probably still get calls during the month of October. But after that, they will be fined if you complain about it.

The list only lasts for 3 years, so you need to re-register every 3 years. But triennial-5-minute efforts of inputting all your phone numbers on the website will prevent countless unwanted calls to your phone. So I say it's worth it.

As usual with any rules, there are exceptions. Charities, political parties, polling firms, newspapers and companies that have done business with an individual over the past 18 months can continue to make unsolicited phone calls.

But there is hope yet. In March, an internet law professor at the University of Ottawa set up a website, www.ioptout.ca. The site has a database that allows users to choose from the hundreds of organizations (including the ones on the exception list above) and send them an automated e-mail removal request.

If you are the type of person who just cannot say "No, I am not interested," and hang up, you probably should register as well.

PS: The logo is for American Do-Not-Call List. Can't find one for Canada yet.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Earthquake

Earlier today, Southern California experienced a 5.4 magnitude earthquake. Apparently, it lasted for about 7-8 minutes, with several aftershocks up to 3.8 magnitude to follow afterwards.

Since I first arrived, I have been told that Canada (and Vancouver specifically) is long overdue for another big earthquake that is supposed to happen once every 100 years. The 100th years was several decades ago, so we would have one very soon.

That was 9 years ago, and here we are, still no major earthquake to speak of. I started to believe that it would never happen after all. Although statistics have proven otherwise, it's hard to imagine something that life-changing will happen in my lifetime, or ever.

The California earthquake reminds me that, yes, it can happen, and it can happen anytime, even during my so-far-uneventful life. Just because I don't see it, or don't think about it, or don't prepare for it, doesn't mean that it will wait until I'm ready. Just because I forget about it, doesn't mean it will quietly go away. The best I can do is not to pretend it won't happen, but to prepare for it.
This event also reminds me of another life-changing event that will happen someday: the Second Coming of Jesus. Living my daily life, sometimes I can't help but wondering if He will come, if ever. 2,000 years seems more than enough time to prepare rooms for us up there. But my feeling and my thoughts are irrelevant. Whatever I think, it doesn't change the fact that Jesus promised He will come again. Whether I am ready or not, He is coming.

For those who are concerned with earthquake, BC Government has prepared a checklist for preparing for earthquake in BC. It is a valuable tool for anyone who doesn't want to be caught unprepared.

For those who are concerned with the second coming of Jesus, here's some materials to get you started. Don't be left behind.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Entrepreneurship and Time

Flexo from Consumerism Commentary asked a good question today: Can you be an entrepreneur in your spare time?

There are strong arguments for maintaining a relatively secure job while laying the groundwork for your own business. With a stable income, you can fund your endeavors. With benefits from your day job, you don't have to worry about making enough money from your side work to support you if you encounter medical emergencies.

On the other hand, there are some reasons why you can't be a successful entrepreneur if all you can devote to the business is your spare time. The more aggressive your goals, the more risk you must be willing to take.

Hah! I am averse to risk myself. I like the idea of me being a risk-taker and reap benefits of the challenges I take. But in reality, I like the consistent and the familiars. I guess that's the reason I am not an entrepreneur myself.

Flexo then continues to argue that while trying to launch a successful business, don't expect to have more time with your family.

One of the main reasons people say they would like to become an "entrepreneur" is that it would allow them to spend more time with family. That may be fine if your intent is to sell products made by someone else on eBay but if you are trying to build a unique business that provides an original product or service or if you are trying to be the best at what you do, you will have less time for friends and family than you had when all you had to worry about was your day job.

This last bit of information seems to be counter-intuitive. If you work for yourself, won't you have control over your work time? After all, you are answerable only to yourself.

But then again, when I see Chris, I can sort of understand it. He is thinking of our family when he works all those crazy hours. So in a way, he works longer hours because he is answerable to himself.

Are there any entrepreneur out there that can share their start-up experience?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Last Lecture

What would you do if you know that you only have a limited amount of time to live? If you knew that you will die in a year, what will you do?

Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, found out that he had pancreatic cancer and had only 3-6 months to live. And he delivered his now-famous Last Lecture. This is an uplifting (yes, uplifting!) lecture on the dreams he had and the path he took in achieving those dreams.

If you haven't heard his lecture yet, take an hour to do so. It's widely available on youtube.



Prof. Randy passed away yesterday, bless-his-soul, at the age of 47. His inspiring lecture has been made into book as well, for those who prefer to read rather than watch.

Back to the original question, though. Most of us don't live our fullest until we know we don't have time anymore. I myself is included. And of course, it's easy to say that we will aim for this, but how exactly do we plan to live to the fullest?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fatal DNS Flaw

I thought I would pass this on for my tech-savvy friends: DNS Dot Bomb: Update Your Nameservers.
In brief, the flaw relates to how DNS requests are made to servers and fulfilled...

With poisoned DNS, you could think you were visiting a given site that you trust, and yet be directed to a look-alike site packed with every form of malware that tries to auto-install or prompts you to accept ActiveX-based horrors that would take over your computer.

In my opinion, if you don't initiate it, do not install anything when prompted. If you want to check emails or news, and you are prompted for some player installation, it should raise a big warning flag in your head. Of course, it gets tricky when you try to play online games. After all, almost all of them uses ActiveX, Java, or Flash player, so you will need to accept installation prompt.

There are people out there who want to take advantage of the clueless. It's a sad reality. Don't be clueless!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The New iGoogle

I love Google. I have used it since it was still in its toddler years, and I love the simplicity of the solution it presents. Nowadays, it is much more than just a search engine. I remember the first time I heard of gmail. I was asking around for an invitation. I believe I even did free advertisement for them (most of my friends now have an @gmail.com account). Of course, as we all know, Google offers more products nowadays.

One product I use everyday is iGoogle. I love how it enables me to put multiple websites (ie, gadget) on one page, giving me a glimpse of what I will be seeing if I were to visit those individual pages. I love the fact that I can check for news and email and facebook notification and new blog entries all at the same time from the same page (before iGoogle, I have tons of bookmarks).

Google has just introduced a new iGoogle, which is applied to randomly-selected accounts. At first glance, it looks good. We have the option of "maximizing" a specific gadget on the page. News feed now has a blurb beneath the title. I can also tag/delete/move Gmail emails, which is a good feature to add.

BUT, it also introduces limitations on the feature I use the most: Gmail! Now I cannot reply to email, or forward an email, or attach a document if I am accessing Gmail via iGoogle (these were all possible before). On top of that, my sent email is not saved on Gmail folder.

The new iGoogle doesn't let me move gadgets between tabs either, which is more than annoying. To move gadget, I have to delete it, and then add it from another tab view. Definitely a huge step back from the previous iGoogle.

I am sure there are people who will love the new iGoogle. Personally, I don't like it. So I tried to change it back to the old one.

To revert to the old iGoogle, from my iGoogle page, type this command on the address bar:
javascript:_dlsetp('v2=0');

To change to the new iGoogle, type this on the address bar:
javascript:_dlsetp('v2=1');

Thankfully, the command works in IE. It doesn't work in Firefox, though (I am still seeing the annoying new iGoogle page). So for now, IE is my office browser.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Booming

On my way home today, I stopped beside a car with booming bass on one intersection. I can understand people loving music and turn their radio up, but my windows were closed and I could feel the bass blasting through my eardrum. The red light lasted for about 30 seconds or so, but it sure felt like a loooong time for me.

I don't know how that driver can preserve his hearings, but oh well, to each his own. I was glad to speed away when the light turned green.

11 hads

Found this sentence on the net today:

James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.


Do you think it's grammatically correct?

For answers, look here: http://toshuo.com/2008/james-while-john-had-had-had-had-had-had-had-had-had-had-had-a-better-effect-on-the-teacher/

Coins Counting

In the effort to minimize spending, I like breaking bills into coins and store the coins up in "savings" jars. It helps me stop spending, since I feel like I've been using up all my cash (when in fact I haven't).

So after collecting coins for a year, I have jars full of pennies, quarters, toonies, loonies, and probably some buttons and foreign countries' coins. It is time to trade them into cash. So off to the bank we went.

Imagine our surprise when the teller told us that we need to roll them all up nicely (manually) before trading them in. They don't have coin-counting machines in any of the branches (even in the head office). This was ridiculous. Even back in a third world country such as mine, all banks have the coin-counting machine. This is Canada! Besides, if we had them all rolled up nicely, we wouldn't need to trade them in.

So, off to Google we researched. And yup, everyone apparently had the same problem. And the only place that would trade your coins into bills are casino. Yes, that's right. Casino! We called around and found that a nearby casino stopped offering that service recently. Another call to River Rock Casino confirmed that they still provided this coins-to-bills service.

We haven't gone there yet, but does anyone know who else provides this kind of service? Banks, where every money-related transactions should occur, do not have it. And we live quite far away from River Rock Casino.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Left or Right?


In Indonesia, people wear wedding rings on their right ring finger. In Canada, they put it on their left ring finger.

Being an Indonesian couple in Canada, we decided to wear ours on our right hand. Chris is very adamant about "being different than everybody else". (Heck, our wedding theme was blue -- nobody in Makassar uses blue as wedding theme).

A couple I know make different arrangements every day. They might put theirs on right hand one day, and switch to left hand the next day. They make plans, though, so both of them put the rings uniformly on certain finger every day.

Personally, it doesn't make a difference for me. BUT, I did get hit by some random stranger when I wore mine on my right hand. I had to flash my ring several times before he got the clue. ^_^ So my policy now is, when I am alone, I wear it on my left hand. When both of us are going out together, it's back on my right hand.

I don't know why people put the ring on left or right hand, though. Does anyone know?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Company Golf Tournament

Last Friday, my company held an annual golf tournament. Being new and not knowing anyone yet, I decided to join in, hoping to know more people during this time. Of course, I warned the coordinator that I never stepped in a golf course, so rules etc were nonexistent as far as I was concerned. Heck, I only knew golf from reading Dan Doh!!

On the tournament day, it was cloudy in the morning. I started to regret my registration. Also, I realized that playing on a golf course meant I had to walk around in "forest" for hours. I hated exercises (still do). What on earth was I thinking when I registered? Hhhh..

We all went to work in the morning, and at about 11 am, we headed to the golf course for lunch before the game. My mood got better after that. The sky cleared. I found out that some of my colleagues didn't know golf either. And I knew one of my teammates (phew!).

After trying it out, golf turned out to be pretty fun. Okay, it was fun only when I hit the ball - which didn't happen very often - but the anticipation that "the next hit might be it" kept me motivated. In addition, the game was played a bit differently than usual. There were games at some of the holes. At hole 9, it was marshmallows golf (who could hit it the furthest among all participants). There was a hockey net at hole 13. If we could hit the golf ball through it, we could advance 40 yards ahead right away. Also, there was poker games, where we had to pick cards from different people from several places. These card holders, in turn, provided games we needed to play in order to get the cards. Incidentally, our team managed to collect a club flush. Unfortunately, some other team got a straight flush, so we lost the poker game.

BUT, we did win the whole tournament. Yup, I was surprised myself. I knew that at some point, we got -6, and we went +2 at hole 18. But we missed the last 2 holes (time out). I heard that some team got -9, and there were teams who completed the whole course. So I didn't expect to win. But win, we did! Although it was mostly my teammate's effort, as a team member, I was very proud of the win. Ehem.. and I did managed a birdie (I did better on the green than trying to get to the green).

For the prize, each of us got one movie pass, and our names would be engraved on the Golf Trophy.

The Golf Trophy

Hahaha.. I still can't believe it. But wasn't it a good start for an amateur like me?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

Today, Canada celebrates Canada Day.

Unlike Indonesia or USA, Canada Day does not equal Independence Day. Since the time long ago, territories on Canada were part of British colonies. On July 1, 1867, apparently 3 of those colonies - Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec) - merged together and became a federation of 4 provinces.

It's interesting to know that Canadians were not really interested to celebrate this day. July 1 became a statutory holiday only in 1879. Even then, Canadians thought of themselves as "primarily British" and thus did not take part in a Canadian patriotism. That was until World War 2.

Beginning 1958, government started to celebrate Dominion Day. And in October of 1982, the name was changed to Canada Day.

Isn't it interesting? I never knew that!

PS: I am using Wikipedia - Canada Day as a reference.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cleaning Cleaning and Cleaning

People says that in life, there are only two things that are certain: death and tax. Well, I think "the need to clean the house" is also another certain thing in life. It feels like we are cleaning up the house nonstop. Just a few more days, and another batch of cleaning must be carried out again.

Of course, I like a clean house. I don't like the process of cleaning, though. Hhhh...

Yesterday we spent the whole day cleaning level 1 and level 3. Chris also automated some lighting so that our house is smarter. Too bad he cannot automate the floor to be self-cleaning.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stuck in Bellevue

So we went for lunch earlier, and accidentally did something that blew the front tire up (don't ask). As a result, we spent an hour changing the tire, and then drove to the nearest Discount Tires to get it changed. Should be done in an hour, they said.

In the meantime, I am reading this very interesting book titled Adam by Ted Dekker. It really is a gripping novel. Although I know this is a Christian novel, it certainly doesn't feel preachy. On the contrary, it feels more like a suspense novel with philosophical side. Of course, I read it for the plot. ^_^

Now, back to my book...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Out of Town!

Hey everyone! Just a quick note to say that Chris and I are currently out of town. Yup! We are taking another week for road trip. We don't know when is the next time we can take off like this, so while we can, we are.

On that note, please don't call us if it's not urgent. And if it is urgent, you should definitely SMS us so that we know we should pick up the phone. We check email occasionally. Our current hotel does not have an internet connection, so it is kinda hard. But when we move to another hotel, we should be able to go online.

Cheers and out!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Life and Changes

After a month full of parties and lazing around in Indonesia. I came back and was ready to tackle my real life. I went to work and found that things were different. It was so different, that on my 3rd day coming back to work, the company decided to shut down the software department. About half of the Vancouver employee was let go.

It came as quite a shock. But I found that I was okay. My co-workers were very supportive. this was my first lay-off situation, and they gave me encouragement by telling their stories.

It took a while, but I found a job. It is a very interesting position (as Build Coordinator) for an auction company. I am looking forward to start working there. Vacation is almost over.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Waiting...

I hate waiting.

I don't hate the time spent waiting. For example, if I am baking a cake that will take 1 hour, I am fine with sitting around waiting for it. Or if I have a project that needs requirement from some busy people, then I spend quite some time waiting for their answer. But the thing is, in the meantime I can do something else, whether it's productive or totally self-centered.

I don't mind the fact that my creation will be delayed as a result of waiting. Except in some extreme cases, usually the time frame is still acceptable.

I am also not bothered by the fact that I will receive a gadget later than I thought. Instant gratification was not part of my bringing, so ordering product online works for me best (no line-ups, cheaper price, no commuting time... what more can I ask for?) ^_^

But I hate the uncertainties that waiting entails. Sitting beside the phone waiting for news about a sick family member, or the result of a product launch, or a job offer... those kind of waiting fills up the time with a feeling of dreads. I really am not good with this kind of waiting...

Bill C-61 and Me

Last Thursday, the government tabled bill C-61 that deals with copyright on the digital world. In a nutshell, the bill says that:
  • you can only rip CD's that you own (ie. your sister / brother cannot rip it).
  • you can record TV shows for later viewing, but you cannot build a library of digital movies on your computer.
  • you cannot bypass technology that disallow you to rip/record. Technology to unlock DVD, cell phone, etc are illegal.
I am not an expert on law. There are more to it than what I wrote above (including clauses for fines, etc). At first glance, though, I know that the third condition would make it almost impossible for the first and second rights to be carried out. If you have the right to rip the CD you own, but the big company decides to put a lock on it, then kiss your rights goodbye.

I am not sure if this bill will ever pass. If the government does not listen to regular Canadians and vote based on their own experience, then there is a big chance it will. After all, their salary is so high up there that the changes proposed won't affect them much (in my opinion).

As for me, I hope it doesn't pass. I rip most of my CD's, and then lose them (which is why I rip CD's in the first place). I cannot prove I own those CD's anymore. Also I won't be able to watch Indonesian's DVD as well if this bill passes, since the region decoding is different than North America, and having region free DVD player will be illegal.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Crazy Gas Price!!

If you drive at all, you would have noticed that the price of gas climbs up steadily over the past few weeks. It has hit $146.xx everywhere, and some gas station has stopped the 3.5c discount. Yaiks! If this continues, I will have to really find a work-from-home job type... The gas price has really hit me hard.

My only consolation is that I have a hybrid, and I even got a rebate from the eco-rebate program (which has since been dropped -- see the news here). Hhhh... at least I can justify the purchase even more now.

My area is a newly developed one, where buses run infrequently, and you need 2-3 transfers to get anywhere. Even if I want to take public transit, I have to drive and park somewhere first. There is no way I am taking only buses to work!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Handyman

A handyman came to my house this morning. I bought a new house and it came with 1 year warranty. So he came and fixed all the little things that have been bothering me.

The hot water did not run. He took the faucet apart, found the problematic part, and replace it with a new one. The electrical plug did not work. He did something to it that I don't understand.

I am happiest about his work on my kitchen cabinet, though. There were huge defects on the cabinet, but the cabinet guy said that they could only paint it to hide the defects. Else, they had to replace the whole thing, which they wouldn't do. But this handyman fixed it by applying some putty to it, and add the stain. I don't understand the process, but it looks much better than what the cabinet guy did.

All in all, this handyman did a very good job!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Honeymoon - Day 2

More pictures from the honeymoon. Check it out here.
Btw, wedding pictures are still in progress. Please be patient. ^_^

Friday, May 23, 2008

Honeymoon - Day 1

My husband has posted photos of the places we go to and the scenery of our honeymoon. If you like, check it out here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More Interesting Web Products Out There...

- Mockatoo
The idea is simple... you make a list of collection that people can see, but you don't actually put the files online. Why is this important? I guess so that people know who to ask for the file if they want it, without you violating the copy right thing.. (after all, sharing between friends are permitted ^_^)

- Joe's Goal
There are habits that we can do without, and there are habits that are very good to have. Joe's Goal lets you write down all these habits and give them points accordingly (+, 0, -). Every time you do any of the habits, put down a smiley face (or a frown face). You will be able to track how many of those you have successfully adopt (or discard).

- Copywriting Tips for Online Marketing Success
If you are a blogger, chances are one of these days you want to write about more than about "my life". This site provides tips about blogging, and business people might find it very useful. The links to some interesting topics follow.

- 5 Common Grammatical Errors that Makes You Look Dumb
The author gets it right. These mistakes not only make you look dumb, but also annoy the heck out of your readers.

- Marketing Blogging Tips by David Ogilvy
The title says it all, really.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hello, Vancouver!

Finally, after spending a month in my birth country, I am back in Vancouver.

My sister mentioned how different life is between the two countries. Indonesia is bustling with activities and noise. People are selling stuff everywhere. Cars honk every 5 seconds or more. Trucks pass by all kinds of road with little regulation. And our lifestyle there is very different -- no self-laundry, self-cooking, or self-cleaning up, thanks to the maids we hire (people power is cheap over there). Whatever we want can be fulfilled easily. We basically live like a princess.

Canada, on the other hand, has clean air and good road. It's cooler in temperature. And we do everything ourself. If you don't pick up your clothes, nobody is going to do it for you. If you don't cook, then you don't eat. Canada is also quiet. Cars don't honk. People do not shout.

When I was back there, life in Canada felt surreal. I saw how the women spend their days filled with things they like to do. They arranged their own schedules and they could drop everything at a moment's notice if emergencies should arise. Hobbies got done. I saw wives hanging out in a beauty parlor all day. Going to a gymn had become a social activity. Life in Canada surely would never be that 'easy'.

But now that I am here, life in Indonesia is but like a dream. Who needs a castle as a home, anyway? And I realize that those wives must have been bored out of their minds. Having a week or two with nothing to do but relax is a privilege, but having a lifetime of vacation is a thing I am not looking forward to.

Two countries, two worlds, two lifestyles.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Just Married!

Finally.. today was the day I got married. I am officially a Mrs. Wow!!!

A lot of married people told me that there would be disappointments, unmet expectations, and things go wrong in married life. I was sure there would be, but yet I was still optimistic about this.

Hahaha.. I guess focusing on the negative wouldn't make a good start of a successful marriage. I was definitely looking forward to this day. What would it feel like? Who would be there? Would all go smoothly? Time will tell...

Friday, April 25, 2008

OpenSSH Public Key Authorization on Linux

To find out whether a user exists or not in a Linux machine:
*    grep username /etc/passwd
or
*    id username

To give a new user access to Linux machine:
1. Login as root user
2. Run this:
    $ /usr/sbin/adduser new_user
3. Set a new password:
    $ passwd new_user
    (and put the password when prompted)

To give them root access:
4. Edit the /etc/sudoers file
    $ vi /etc/sudoers
    User_Alias YOUR_GROUP = new_user
    YOUR_GROUP ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL

To test whether the new_user has been granted root access, run these two commands:
    $ su new_user (user should be 'new_user' now)
    $ sudo su (user should be 'root' now)
If the conditions above met, then new_user has root access.

If the new_user want to use public/private key gen authorization:
5. Change your user to be the new_user
    $ su new_user
6. Create ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file if it doesn't exist yet
    $ mkdir ~/.ssh
    $ chmod 700 ~/.ssh
7. Insert the public key on the authorized_keys file
    $ vi ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
    (insert the public key entry)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Life Around Food

My time in Indonesia seems to be full of food and wedding-related activities. Obviously, since my main purpose is the wedding, I do lots of preparations for it.

The thing is, for the wedding, I need to lose weight (always!). But the culture dictates that people offer food to whomever they happen to meet. So whenever I meet my future parents-in-law, lunch or dinner or snacking is sure to follow. My cousins would tell me all about the delicious food at a place they have just visited. Yesterday, my mom and I went to a jeweler's store, and he treated us to ice cream!

We talk about what's for lunch every morning. After lunch, we plan our teatime snack and/or dinner. After dinner, there is a late-night snack talk. And of course, what's for breakfast.

Ahhh... Life revolves around food during vacation. What a (yummy) life! ^_^

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Finally Home!!!

20 hours of flights in a 24-hour span, and I survived it!
48 hours without internet, and I survived it!

Now, it's time for bed... Zzzz....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Free Tax Software

A friend of mine found out that I always did my own taxes manually every year. He then pointed me to StudioTax, a free tax preparation software for Canadian.

This software is really powerful and convenient. When you run the program, it asks for your province of residence and the kind of claims you will make. If you study, you will claim T22. Workers claim T4. If you have savings or investments, you will receive form T5 from the bank. There are also selections for charity, RRSP, etc.

Once you have made your claim choices, the screens you need to fill are very simple. It is basically copy-and-paste from your forms to the screens. The software will put the informations on the correct columns. If you make mistake, it will give you warnings before you generate the NETFILE file.

It usually takes me about 30 minutes to fill one form. But with StudioTax, I was done in about 15 minutes or so. And that was my first time using it. If I have to do it again, I am sure it would take me less time.

Oh, you can only save and generate at most 20 returns using StudioTax. I guess it's not for professionals. Well, they have more information on their website. Overall, I am very pleased with this software and would recommend it to you if you have not-very-complicated returns.

I am sure it can do much more than what I said here, but since I didn't use it, I wouldn't comment on it. You can download and use it for free on their website.

Friday, April 18, 2008

In Hong Kong

Waaaaaahhhh...

The moment I stepped out of the plane, I knew I was in Asia. The air is more humid, and have this after-rain smell. It's nice..

1 more hour till my flight to Indonesia...

Flying Out

Finally... today I am flying out of Vancouver. It is a long-anticipated day. Strangely enough, I still have lots of things to do before my flight out.

In any case, I can't wait to see my family again. It's been such a long time. We are all going to there to celebrate my younger brother's 15th birthday. I think the last time we did that was when he turned 2.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Done with Tax Return!

Ha! I am finally done with my tax return.

Next on the list:
  • preparing my sisters' tax return
  • vacuuming my room
  • arranging a mountain full of sheet music

Bridal Shower

Yesterday after church, my friends threw me a bridal shower! I didn't expect it at all and I was taken completely by surprise. Every female members and friends (and girls) were there.

Cik Anita organized the whole thing. She prepared some games where my friends did my evil make-up. Then they tied my hair into lots of small bundles and put a tiara and veil over it. The young adult females made this overall that looked like a Hawaiian skirt, with the duster incorporated in it. I still do not know how I looked, but it must have been pretty terrible, because the little girls were staring, and the teenage girls were giggling and pointing. I was thankful that nobody cried though.. so there is hope still...

Then I had to identify 14 cleaning products in a story that cik Anita read. If I got less than 10, I would be 'punished'. Although I hate cleaning, the hours spent in front of TV pay off... I managed to identify 12. Hehehe.. I think cik Anita was pretty disappointed that I got most of them.

For another game, I had to answer some questions about Chris. I admitted that he was the romantic one who loved sop konro bakar. Hahaha.. those were easy one. But apparently I didn't know his shoe size or his favorite song. Oh well.. And cik Anita had asked Chris previously about his impression of me. I read what Chris wrote, and it was beautiful.

Words of Thoughts from Chris
Olivia, despite of her strength and superior ability in handling her daily routine,
I will always see her as a weak girl
whom I will protect with all my strength,
whom I will take care of all the time,
whom I will grow old with,
whom I will love forever
till death do us part
See, I told you he is the more romantic one!

It was a very memorable bridal shower. Thank you, my friends, for giving me such a wonderful gift to celebrate my happy day!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pre-Wedding Pictures

Some of my friends have been asking us to post some pre-wedding pictures. Well.. Chris has posted some on our wedding website and some more on Flickr. Without further ado.. here they are!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Done with the Laundry!

Ha! Finally.. after postponing putting away the laundry for several weeks, yesterday night I hardened my resolve and spent 3 hours taking care of the laundry.

Who knew I had so much clothes? Who knew I had so much too-small jeans? Must... lose... weight... (but love food too much to stop eating.. ). Hhh...

Next up, filing tax returns. I am starting to dread the process and wondering if it worths paying $80 for a consultant service. Hmm....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

On Procrastinating

Procrastinating.. Ah... You would think that a word starting with "pro" would have a positive meaning. Proactive, professional, protein.. They are all good. But this one pro is not good for health.

Currently I have lots of things to do before leaving for Indonesia. Let's see.. I need to go to Costco and buy medicines for mom. I need to find more clothes as well. And arranging my room. And packing my baggage. Oh, and filing tax. Whew.. lots of things to do. And yet, every night I still sit in front of TV and watch these cool Japanese guys sing, act, talk, and play games.

Procrastinating.. I have master this one art that I definitely can use without.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Third Visit to the Dentist

So I am back from yet another dentist appointment. And the dentist discovered new problem with my teeth. I need several fillings and root canals. Which means yet more appointments to come. Arrgghhhh!! I hate it when this happens. At this rate, I will know every inch of the dentist office by the end of Summer.

Now I wish I do not like chocolate and go to dentist regularly. Then perhaps I won't be in this much trouble.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Transposer 2.0

Earlier today, worshipmusic.com sent me a newsletter today regarding the release of Transposer 2.0. Here is the full announcements:
NEW: Transposer 2.0, pitch and tempo changing software!

Singers, musicians, worship leaders- ever wanted to change the key of a song instantly, so you could hear the audio file in the best key for you? Changing the sheet music or chord chart was always something you could do, but how could you change an actual audio file with your favorite recording on it? The answer is Transposer 2.0.

Transposer 2.0 allows you to raise or lower the pitch of any MP3 song without changing the tempo. You can also change the tempo of an MP3 song without changing the pitch. The quality of the recording remains the same, within reasonable limits (pitch changes between 4-5 semitones, and tempo changes of 25% or less).

This program can be very useful to someone trying to learn a certain track of a song.Transposer 2.0 Some applications of Transposer 2.0 include:
  • Practice or play in your key- by raising or lowering the pitch of a song you can practice in your ideal key!

  • Learning a song - lowering the speed makes it easier to write down each note of an arrangement or instrument solo part.
Runs on all these Windows/PC platforms: Windows 95, Windows 98/SE, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP.
If you want to try it out, there is a free shareware version that you can download.
You can now try out Transposer 2.0, by downloading a free demo of the software and trying it out! The demo version will let you try the software before you buy and will help you see if this software tool is right for you! Select HERE to download the software now.

This demo download is completely free, and includes no spyware, or any other programs. It is simply a demo version of the Transposer 2.0. The demo will operate exactly at the fully licensed version of the software, except that it will not allow you to save the transposed song files to your computer, until you acquire a valid license key. This allows you to try out the software on the song files you want, and allows you to hear the results for yourself before purchasing the software.
I tried it for a song, and it sounds pretty good. Try it out yourself and let me know what you think!

Me, the Complex Potential, and the Ideal Fluid Flow

Graduating from university a few years back, I got my degree in both Mathematics and Computing Science. I have passed the classes for ODE, PDE, BVP, and other abbreviated principles of Maths.

So how come I can't remember anything about Complex Potential and Ideal Fluid Flow? (Actually, anything with "fluid flow" in it spells trouble for me). Hhh...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Wedding Shoes - part 2

Some friends found out about my shoes dilemma. Advices from those who saw the pictures are for the gold one. When I wore them though, the gold one actually looked worse (and less stable) than the white one. So I returned the gold one already.

My friends told me an alternative I have never thought about before -- flat or lower shoes. Since I am short, I like high platforms. Apparently though, for the wedding, I will be wearing a tiara, which would add to my height. So lower shoes are better (plus, nobody look at your shoes anyway).

I'll try browsing around more for lower shoes.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Things I Learn from One Piece

When I was growing up, my mother always told me that fictions were not the best choice for reading. I should be learning piano or Chinese instead, she would go on. Or improve mathematics skills and do some physics experiments that would be beneficial to my study. Being a kid, I disobeyed her and enjoyed novels very much. I read almost everything from short stories in magazines to detective stories (The Famous Five, The Three Investigators, The Secret Seven) to adventures stories to school-life stories (Malory Towers, St. Clare's). Oh, and of course, fairy tales too.

In my junior high school year, Japanese Comic (manga) entered the country (Candy Candy). Along with it, the first anime also came (Doraemon).

We have come a long way since Candy Candy and Doraemon, but anime and manga are still enjoyable today. One of the series I like very much is One Piece. And this might sound weird, but One Piece has really good advices and life values that I admire.

One, Luffy is always loyal to his friends (or nakama). He never leaves his nakama behind, even though it means he has to fight in a "hopeless" battle. Once, he charges through the strongest fort of his enemy to get his nakama back. Nobody has ever survived that experience, but he is ready to risk it all for his friends. This kind of friendship is rare in real life. We might have our own ideals and think that we will everything for our friends, but once the price gets real high, our economic sense prevails.

Two, every member of the Straw-hat's Pirates has an obvious flaw. Luffy is dumb and hungry all the time. Nami loves money too much. Chopper is scared of everything. Usopp lies. Zoro is always lost. Sanji is weak against women. Robin is calculating. I don't know Franky's weakness yet, but it will show in time. But despite the flaws, Luffy always focuses on his team's strength. He never asks Zoro to learn the directions more, for example. He leaves it all on Nami's hand. It will be all too easy for him to ask Usopp to stop lying, but he takes it as a fact of life instead. Luffy knows he is only good at fighting, so he learns new techniques to become stronger. We should always try to improve ourselves, but insisting it on someone else is probably not a good idea.

Three, every member looks out for each other, even without being asked for. Among the 8 members in the team, 3 have the Devil Fruit ability. Which means they cannot swim. For a pirate, this flaw is very serious. They are on a ship most of the time. They fight with other pirates on the ship too. And what will happen if the ship sinks? The 3 members would be in grave danger. And yet, every time something happens, another member always remember to look after these three. No agreement has ever been made before. The three do not even yell for help. The others are probably in pretty serious situation too (being thrown into the sea is no laughing matter). But no matter the danger the put themselves in, the members would always help these three. I envy this relationship. In North America, we have been taught to be independent and self-sufficient, so that help can be seen as an insult. As a result, no help is ever given that is not asked for. "Mind your own business" seems to be the theme of social life here.

I am sure there are some more lessons I learn just from One Piece. But I will reserve them for another day.

PS: If you haven't seen One Piece before, I highly recommend you watching the Japanese version with English subtitles, not the English-dubbed one. The Japanese version is far superior to the English one.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Japanese, Observed

In my spare time, I love watching anime (Detective Conan, One Piece, etc) and Japanese drama (Liar Game, Hana Kimi, etc). After watching lots of Japanese shows, I started noticing how Japanese market their products. It is very different than how Western does it.

Their advertisements are embedded within the drama. So while the character does something boring or routine (such as driving or locking the apartment door), big letters would appear and names of sponsors would be displayed. Audiences will sit through all the sponsor names for sure, because the drama is still playing in the background.

They also market their actors differently. Some actors are dedicated to acting only (Oguri Shun, for example). Some do modeling on top of acting (Shibue Joji). Most, though, are also singers (Yamashita Tomohisa). If the actor is a male singer/actor (also referred to as idols), then chances are, he "belongs" to Johnny's.

I don't really know the details since I don't speak Japanese, but as far as I know, Johnny's Entertainment recruits boys to be idols. The boys start at a young age and they are taught dancing and singing. If they get better at performing (usually in their teens), then they will make a debut as a member of newly created boy's band. An actor can even belong to two or more groups at the same time. I don't know if it has rivals, but as far as I know, most (all?) boy's bands are managed by Johnny's. Hence, during the variety shows or performances, the idols can perform other groups' songs. No need to worry about copyright. And since they are under Johnny's, the different groups get along quite well. The seniors freely offer advices to their juniors.

Anyway, back to the singers/actors themselves. The first time they starts acting, the singers usually have very weak acting skills (in my opinion, their debut characters usually closely resemble their own personalities). But people still watch the drama. Partly because of the story. But mostly because they want to support their idols. And once they fall in love with the idol, they would search for other dramas the actors are cast for. The more popular the idol, it's more likely that their movies will be watched.

The fans know about their personalities and their lives. There are shows where they describe what they do in their spare time or for special occasion, how they interact with other groups, etc. But in spite of this, they still can go to regular school. I don't know how their life is at school, but apparently even the most famous idols attend regular university, take the regular train everywhere, and can take vacation without having to reserve the whole ocean for themselves (again, this is from what I know via watching TV etc).

I have this impression that Japanese like their idols to behave well. When an idol got caught underage-drinking, he would be reprimanded and penalized. He would not be allowed to go on stage or release an album. Although he had a lot of fans who wanted him to perform again, he could not escape the penalty of his actions.

In North America, scandals sell. Even with all the drugs, partying, and underage drinking, an actor/actress who is popular will never be punished. It's weird that people here seems to like the story of celebrity mess-ups.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Second Dentist Visit

So I am back from my second dentist visit of the year. It was 2 hours long, and my mouth is numb from all the freeze they injected. I still have to go back just for cleaning. I am starting to feel that the tooth fairy hates me.

Anyway, while I was sitting on the dentist chair and trying to think about anything but the drill that was in my mouth, I imagined what would happen if our teeth can grow indefinitely all our lives (just like crocodile). If it hurts, we can just pull it out (gently, of course), and it will grow again. There will be no need for hygienist and dentist (or limited need for this profession as we know it now). No drilling in the teeth and no freezing anymore.

Instead, there might be field for teeth-polishing, teeth-coloring, and teeth-shaping. Much like what we have for our hair and nails.

Come to think of it.. I am so thankful that hair keeps on growing and nails grow back after we cut it. If I have to go through the drilling thing with my nails, I would absolutely go crazy. Aaaargghhh!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wedding Shoes Dilemma

In my culture, people have big weddings. Everyone the parents know gets invited. The friends of the bride and the groom also get invited, of course, but they usually make up only about 5% of the total guests. My husband-to-be is a first son in his family. More reason that we will have a big wedding.

Anyway, big wedding means standing up for a long time. Which means that I would be needing a comfortable shoes that I can stand in (and walk around with) for hours at end. The shoes must make me taller (since I am short). But it can't be too angled (it would be too tiring for me). I want it to be white (or at least mostly white), and above all, comfortable.

I thought that with all these shoes stores, there must be tons of choices that I wouldn't know which one to buy. Boy, was I wrong! It's really hard to find shoes that match those requirements. I walked around for 2 hours with no luck. Fortunately, at the end, I visited Aldo store and managed to find 2 pair that more or less fulfill my requirements.

The first one is mostly white, with wide black straps. It means that it won't fall off easily. It's about 4-5 inches tall. It hugs my feet perfectly. I fell in love with this one and seriously consider buying this, if I didn't see the second choice.


It is a pair of mute gold sandals. The height is the same as the white one, but with less angle, because the front part is raised more. I am not a big fan of how it looks, but it is very comfortable.

So basically, now I am torn between looking good and feeling comfortable. Ugh...

Dodging the Dentist Chair

If I have my way, I would never ever have to go to the dentist. My tooth hurts at the thought of dentist. I fast-forwarded "The Little Shop of Horrors" on all dentist's scenes. That's all because of my first visit to the dentist when I was small. He worked on my tooth without anesthetic. I was in pain for a day or two. Ouch!

Anyway, after running out of excuses not to go to the dentist, yesterday I finally mustered up the courage to visit one. It was a painful experience. My teeth and gum were very sensitive to touch and cold water, so they need to be frozen first. It turned out that I was hard to freeze. The hygienist must have injected my gums several times with little luck. So she only worked on 1/4 of my mouth's section. Yup, it means that I have to go back to the dentist at least 2 more times!!

The good news, though, is that after I got it all cleaned, the gum will start healing itself, and hopefully next year's experience won't be as painful. But until then, I need to visit the dentist numerous times to fix all the problems that have accumulated over the years.

Thank God my work covers the dental insurance!