Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sensa Cools (清熱酷)

Chinese used to have a concept called "hotness", and I'm diagnosed to be a "hot" person. That means if I eat something "hot", my body will not feel comfortable afterward. Syndromes like mouth ulcer, pimples are the normal results.

"Sensa Cools" is a product to solve this problem, especially after we eat "hot" food. Spicy food is considered to be "hot", deep fried food, etc. Before that, I used to drink "Isatidis Seu Baphicacanthus", but I just want to see if there is any alternative.

"Sensa Cools" is very nice to drink, the taste is good and it smells good as well. It's quite expensive, but if it works, it worths.

I will report back soon.


After a few days of testing, it's pretty effective so far. However, the effect is not as powerful as traditional herbs tea.

Friday, October 24, 2008

When a notebook becomes a netbook

Many years ago I bought a Sony Vaio U3, and by then there's no such thing as netbook. This is a notebook at that time with a very small size, a 933MHz CPU, running 256M memory (later upgraded to 512M), and a 20G hard drive. I love it because it is so small and portable, but yet it's running Windows XP and I had also installed Linux to it.

Recently, I have a chance to put it along with a netbook side by side, and it's indeed even smaller than that! The configuration is similar as well!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Disposable Contact Lens

Contact lens is very good for sports, hiking, beach and other out door activities. Conventional glasses are not very convenient for they can come off rather easily for sports, and they are not so comfortable with heavy sweating.

Contact lens could be inconvenient for daily work, especially when you have to look at the computer monitor for very long. Your eyes will feel very dry after prolong usage. Disposable contact lens is a very nice choice since they are usually thinner and thus we feel better even for longer usages.

For myself, I will not use contact lens usually unless for sports, and out door activities. Therefore, disposable contact lens is my prime choice! They are inexpensive and easy to buy as well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Physical lock

If you ever study computer science, you will know the importance of a "lock". If there is concurrent access to a piece of data, you will probably need a "lock", or else you will be run into trouble.

Okay, let's move to a more realistic example.

A few days ago, there was a broken light bulb inside my home, so it's natural to buy a replacement one, right?

But due to the busy schedule, I didn't do so immediately. And someone else was buying that for me, nice thing, right?

However, no one ever told me that a new bulb is already in place. Guess what, I bought one on the same day without knowing this fact!

Therefore, it's funny enough and so now we ended up to have several of them at home. It's a good example of the need of a "lock", or to make it simple, it's the importance of communications.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Photography as a way to capture motion

Video is the default means to capture motion. However, with amateur video equipment, it's hard to add much creativity. Other than zoom in for close up and zoom out to get the overall atmosphere, there is not much that you can play with. You can change the capturing angle as well, but then it's highly limited because stability will be compromised. Of course, we can do video editing afterward, but then it's another story. Video taking tends to be more boring than photography in general.

To take photographs of moving target, it could be real fun! But then the successful rate could be exceedingly low. However, with digital technology, we can do continuous shooting at high frame rate! That significantly increase the chance of taking a good shot.

Large aperture lens (faster focal ratio) helps, for it requires shorter exposure time which increase the chance of success effectively. And at the same time, the background blur which is a result of depth of view is also a very nice effect.

A good and fast focusing motor will also help, so it's always nice to get the lens with faster focusing performance. A camera with fast frame rate is also desirable. Finally, image stabilization is also useful, even when you pan to follow your moving target.

Real life video taking, as compared to professional movie recording, has another big difference - the capture background voice. In that regard, you can hardly have much control over it. People tends to remove the voice channel and put in background music instead. But then for photography, it's not an issue at all. Finally, well captured photograph could become a great reminder of important moments. No media can be better than your memory in terms of the faithfulness, and this kind of photograph can really trigger your lost memory and then the missing frames could be filled up by your real (reminded) memory.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mobile phone without a numeric keypad

This is the first time that I chose a mobile phone without a numeric keypad, and I would say it really brings some inconvenience.

First of all, if you want to find a phone book entry from the address book, you will miss the numeric keypad. For example, when you want to search for a friend with a name that begins with "S" you have no short cut. Of course, for most of the time, you will only call a small subset of people, you can easily locate them from the recent dial list. And for other less called numbers, you can also use the stylus to write.

And here comes another problem. Actually, when I was using Palm OS, I always wonder why there's a special area for writing, especially when full screen writing is supported. Now I understand why! Suppose I wanted to write by the stylus, I have first change the input mode! And this mode changing action requires several clicks on the screen, and that's troublesome enough when you just want to enter a single letter, in order to speed up the searching! That really defeat the purpose, it's just not speed up.

Another usage on the numeric keypad is quick dial. With my more traditional phones, I can always define several numbers which I always call, and then I can make a call by simply press and hold a single button!

Frankly, I guess all these could be solved, for example, by defining different way of this quick dial by using the stylus. Or even simpler, to make the button on the touch screen bigger!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Power of Chatting

Sometimes when we got emotional issue, we would feel much better after chatting with friends, why is that?

Other than the support, as well as comment and advice, I believe there is another quite important reason which might not be well recognized. Other than God, you yourself should be the one who understand the situation the best, and at the same time, with most detail information. However, that does not necessarily mean that the above information is well organized, and sometimes this messy situation can be a major cause of emotion problem!

So, when you talk to your friend, you will organize the messy data yourself before you can present them to others. Actually, by doing so, you can effective identify some good solutions to the problem.

Of course, I am not trying to say that the advices from friends are not as significant, however, this part is often neglected.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Prime lenses and Composition

Yesterday I did some imaging outside with only two (50mm f1.8 and 200mm f2.8) prime lenses.

I found that by using prime lenses, we will be forced to learn how to design the composition very seriously. When using a zoom lens, I found myself more limited to those standard styles of framing, what I mean is that, I will try to encapsulate some background to an extend such that they are just enough to record the context of that snapshot. It's very real that it's quick and simple, but again, it's just quick and simple, but in the lack of creativity.

However, with prime lenses, it's another story entirely! Prime lenses usually have bigger aperture (faster focal ratio to be exact), and thus, you can have more control on the depth of field. This is certainly another great way to control your composition, you can design how much you can put into "focus", and therefore, to dilute the effect of the background framing.

I hate to say this, but in the days with heavier air pollution, it could be a good trick to hide the dirty stuff.

Prime lens have a fixed field of view, but by moving yourself forward and backward, you still have some limited control. Since you have to move, you will be more serious when doing the decision. And with such limitation, you will be forced to be more creative. To give a simply analogy, please think about this scenario: if you have unlimited resource, you will not be very creative.

With a zoom lens, you won't move too much usually, so that's another kind of limitation to your creativity. But with a prime lens, you will be prepared to move always. Remember that by moving, you are not just changing the field of view, but also the shooting angle! And that's where creativity comes in. When you're more willing, or prepare to move, the more flexibility that you will have.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Power of Interviews

Interview is not really a very accurate means of finding suitable candidates, but when we have no better ways, it's still a very common procedure in a recruitment process.

When you are going to have interviews, that means you are about to give up your current position, or at least you have some motivations to change. In that case, you might be easily in a position that, you think your current position is not very good and promising. However, in this kind of situation, how can you find something good out of your existing position?

Interview, by itself, could be a good way. Why is that?

Interviewers will ask many questions to understand your ability, your attitude, your experience and so on. Through these questions, you might re-discover what you have learned in your current or past positions. That's a good side-effect of an interview. You will easily think all the skills/ability/experience that you have is so common, but that most probably apply in your current company as well. A common skill in a certain place could be entirely valuable in another place.

Even negative experience could be great for the potential new employers, since you have learned from the expensive mistakes from your past/current employers, and these expensive experience will certainly bring benefits to your potential employers. In this sense, even negative or failures could be great.

So all these are the power of interviews.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Home Photo-copying: Photograph and Copying

I guess we have been in a situation like here: we wanted to make photocopy at night but...

1. the multipurpose printer cannot do the job, since the document to be copied is so thick and it cannot be feeded into the document scanner

2. if you just take a photograph and print it out, the resulting copy does not look like photocopied at all

So, the problem becomes how to make an image from a digital camera, to look like a copy made by a traditional photocopy machine? Let me outline the steps:

1. Take a snapshot of the document with a DC, does use flash, and try to use an even light source; macro mode works out nice

2. Copy the image to the PC

3. Use your image processing software to crop the surrounding, just keep the document at the center

4. Change your image into gray scale

5. Adjust the "level" to make the histogram nice, i.e. the whole dynamic range is used

6. Do a "stamp" filter, it can be found under "Sketch". That's even a "photocopy" filter in photoshop, but it does not work as nice as "stamp"

7. Print it out

I guess you will be surprised by how much it looks like a real photocopied document!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Spherical Light Bulb

I have been using this kind of light bulb for very long, I used to think they are really an integral light bulb with a spherical glass shell outside. However, as you can see from the above, they are not. They are more like normal light bulb with a glass shell.

This morning, one of the light bulbs has the glass shell dropped from the ceiling. Thank God that there is no one there at that time. I turned the light on and it still works, but of course, I have removed it from the socket (took the above shot) and throw it away.

Therefore, if you have these kind of bulb, better check periodically to see if their glass shell is loose or not, otherwise, very serious accident could result.

An interesting online shop

When I wanted to buy something which are unavailable or they are just too hard to find locally, I will go for ebay usually, but I come across this nice one today:


On future checking, it's a Hong Kong based company! It offers free shipping for most products, and their pricing is very competitive. I didn't actually buy something from them until now, but I found their "uncensored" user reviews extremely useful, it's simply more useful than ebay rating, for it's just more product oriented. Negative product comment can be found easily, so those were not fake reviews.

And better yet, this is a real company, rather than most ebay sellers who are just doing home based business. Another plus for those who are new to internet shopping.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Work for the Pulse?

To work is to survive. Of course, it's not the whole truth, but it's a very good part of the reality.

If you got a job like most of us, the salary will be given to you periodically, at least hopefully. However, there are so many auto-pay request, there are so many bills of all kinds which will follow nearly immediately after your salary comes into the balance.

So the salary is just like a pulse in your bank account, the balance will jump up suddenly, but then it will go back to normal level fairly soon.

If you think that you are working for the pulse alone, you will be very likely to lost interest about working or even your life... Therefore, one should learn to enjoy our work, as well as to appreciate what we have behind all those payments - your family, the happy faces, your toys, and more importantly, try to help the needy!

It's not just a pulse.

Blogging and Life

My first blog is a very personal one, and I never try to let other people to read them. Somehow I even think that it is a channel in which my past self and communicate with my future self. Of course, I won't try to hide it from any one, but the prime purpose of that blog is for personal use only.

I will try to get my mind organized while writing them down, and at the same time, I will use it to organize my daily life, like what tasks are pending and how's the progress, and how can I solve some problems step by step, as well as how to come to a big goal by breaking it down into smaller manageable pieces. Feels like a programming approach?

Finally, a blog will be a very good record after all. Therefore, my first public blog is dedicated for astronomy, since it's always nice to have all kinds of observations recorded, as well as to store the photographs, if I have taken some during the observation sessions.

If you asked me, blogging can be like bookmarks in life.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hiking and GPS

We simply cannot rely on GPS when hiking, there is no alternative for a good experienced leader plus a good map/compass.

As you can see, the initial part of the GPS log is quite messy. This is where you have so many tall trees around you and therefore, the signal strength are relatively weak and so the accuracy is highly compromised.

When we are in the open areas, the track is very accurate, however, in those places, you can actually see where is the way ahead.