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.