Friday, September 10, 2010

Decoupling of price and value

In these days, the price is determined solely by demand and supply, and therefore, there's a decoupling of price and value.

For example, when you eat a lunch box, the foam box was very cheap because of the law of supply and demand. However, the environment cost of the foam box is extremely big, it takes hundreds of years to decompose. And the processing of rubbish is expensive as well.

Such a phenomena is best exploited in the stock market, in which you can drive the price away from the value given you have enough money in the first place. And then after distorting the price, you can "create" value in this process. Of course, those were not really "value" since there's no production afterall.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Replacing the keyboard of my Asus Eee 1005HA

A few keys were found to be not responsing just 7 days after the expiry of the warranty. Called their service center and they said that they will charge me $300 HKD for inspection, and the cost for replacing a keyboard would be like $4xx HKD! It sounds crazy since this Eee costs me only $24xx one year ago.

Therefore, I went to ebay to buy a replacement keyboard and replace it myself. I ordered one last Friday and I got it now, and it's around $200 HKD shipped.

To remove the old keyboard, you need to loosen the clips under the battery.

After the above step, you can life up the keyboard with ease, no force required:

Remove the keyboard from its connector, put in the new one, and done!
Every keys work now!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Great tool for USB bootable Linux

Simple and yet powerful, it helps you to put a Linux distribution that you like on a USB thumbdrive. This is good for system recovery, emergency bootup, etc.

Highly recommended.

It's great for these days when USB thumbdrives are cheap and highly portable, a handy boot disk shall be great. It won't occupy much space as well.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Amazon and foreign currency

I just realized that Amazon offered to pay in HKD (or your native currency) instead of USD, this seems to be very convenient at the first glance, but the evil is in the detail.

Yes, they will charge you HKD (or your native currency) and you will know the exact amount that you will have to pay very clearly. However, if you do a simple exercise with a calculator, you will immediately know that it's not going to be a good deal. I suggest you to try it out yourself.

I would advise you to use USD for the payment, and your credit card will do the conversion for you. The exchange rate of bank is far more reasonable in my experience.

Paypal currency switching

I've some paypal balance in USD. Transfering it to the local bank would not incur a charge but the exchange rate is pretty bad. Therefore, it makes more sense to use it to buy something else.

Today, I tried to buy something in GBP, however, paypal would not allow me to use my paypal balance in USD. After some google work, I realize that if the amount to be paid is more than your balance would allow, it will not let you use the balance but instead, it will charge completely by the credit card!

To solve this problem, I asked the vendor to separate the paypal request into two parts. The first part is less than my paypal balance, so that paypal would allow me to use my existing balance. And the second part is to use credit card.

Quite simple, but of course, since there's a currency switching, I expect poor exchange rate again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Great freeware video tools

If you want to do one of the followings, you might want to have a look on a freeware tool.

  1. Download video from youtube
  2. Insert video clip in your PowerPoint slide
  3. Convert videos from one format to another
  4. Simple video manipulations
  5. and more!

It allows you to do the above easily, and for inserting a video clip in PowerPoint slide, it helps by converting your existing clip to wmv, which I found is the best for PowerPoint purpose.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Broadband via Mobile Phone Network

A few months ago, I found that my Internet connection failed. After many different investigation, it was found that the cable was broken by the renovation work down stair. After millions of negotiation, the broadband provider agreed to lay the cable for me again but we had a very hard time to do that on the original trunking. After that, my internet connection becomes very unstable all the time.

Finally, I decided to switch to a wireless based solution. It provides broadband services via 3G mobile phone network, and it also provides conventional home telephone service as well. What they provided is a wireless gateway, which sits in the middle of the 3G network, and on the other hand, to provide internet services via LAN or Wi Fi.

The good thing about this technology is that, you don't have to lay any cable. There're virtually "nothing" to fix in case of network failure, except that small wireless gateway. The speed of the internet might vary over the day, it could go really fast like my last ISP (based on Cable TV network), or quite slow... but it's still fast enough for youtube, etc.

For me, stability is more important than speed. And I found it hard when the network had problem, you have to stay at home, to wait for the technician to come and fix the whole thing for you, and that requires a lot of waiting and negotiation. Troublesome enough for me.

I guess that I will stay with this kind of service. And another good thing about this service is that, you can move your house without re-apply another service. Mobile phone network can reach any places virtually these days, so it sets the internet and your home phone free.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DIY Macro Filter

I've a 70mm f=500mm (astronomical grade) objective sitting idle from a finished experiment, so I was always thinking how could I use it in the best way.

When I heard that a macro filter is just an optical lens to bring the focus point closer, I begin to think that it might be just a converging lens! For example, if you have a 500mm focal length lens, if your subject is at 500mm from this objective, parallel ray will go out from the other side of the lens. Yes, parallel ray, that means, if your camera lens will focus at infinity, it will accept parallel ray! In that case, if my lens would focus as close as 1 meter, if I add this f=500mm lens in front of it, it will focus as close as, at least, 500mm now.

To do that, I will only need to buy a suitable threaded ring and stick it in the lens cell like the following:

So now I can put it on and take it off easily, and the result:

Not bad, right?

Network Convergence

We have the following networks:

1. telephone (fax)
2. television
3. internet
4. mobile phone

Telephone Company: ADSL is to use the telephone network for internet connection, and to go a step further, video on demand can be made to work with ADSL. In that sense, the telephone network is now to provide TV, internet as well.

Cable TV: Cable modem is to use the cable TV network for internet connection, and voice over IP can be made to put telephone services on the same network. In that sense, the cable TV network is now to provide TV, telephone and Internet.

Mobile Network: Recently, I've subscribed a service which is based on mobile phone network to provide internet access, as well as conventional telephone service. It's not very fast, but then I believe it's fast enough for most people. Of course, it can support video on demand as well.

Who will win finally in the war of network convergence? Personally, I think Internet will rule in the form of optical fibre services provider since it's fastest and thus it can provide all sorts of services nicely, and the second candidate should be the mobile phone network, since nothing else could replace it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Replacing the tap of the bathtub

It was found broken earlier today... it's a public holiday today but thank God, I managed to find a shop to buy a replacement, so the question is, how to replace it?

I did measure that the distance between the two water pipes (hot and cold) are around 6 inches. So I went to the shop and asked, whether it's standard or not, the answer is positive. But then you know what, you can hardly be exact especially when the water pipes are coming from inside the wall! So, how to accomodate the difference?

The key lies in the following picture:

Yes, you can rotate it along with the threaded pipe from inside the wall, so the difference can be accomodated.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Last week, I dropped my eye-glasses and it broke into two pieces... So, I did a google on a simple phrase "邊度配眼鏡好" and I come up with this:

It is so close to my home and it's relatively cheap, so I went. The service is good, I would say. No sales will come to you, and so you've a lot of time to choose from a extensive collection of glases. They price range is big so that you can find something really cheap to some really famous brand.

Once you're ready, you can go for eye checking and they will measure by machine first and then you will be served by a professional optician.

The best thing about this shop is that, they can have your new pair of glases ready in half an hour!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Love and Imperfection

I love my wife since she's imperfect, otherwise, she does not need my love.


I believe spouses are complimentary, we are made to help each others. We are all imperfect, and we shall love the good and the bad of our spouse. An immediately implication is that, I should love the imperfection of our spouse. And to go a step further, the imperfection is also why we would love our spouse.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Function of CPL filter

Picture of my new CPL filter from DealExtreme, it's 58mm threaded, so it can fit my kit lens and also my 100mm f2.0, some people might think that the kit has a rotating front element so that a CPL filter could be hard to use, however, I found that this filter is nicely designed. As you can see from the picture, the threaded part and the filter part can be rotated, and therefore, after auto-focusing, you can adjust the CPL.

Two pictures said it all, first picture without CPL, you can see the contrast suffered a lot by the reflection:-

And then I installed the CPL, autofocused, and then adjusted the CPL angle to minimize the reflection, here we go:

Sounds a great little filter to bring around, computer processing cannot replace its function.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Backup strategy

Optical media might not be as reliable as we thought, conventional hard drive seems the best.

With the growing data size from digital camera, video recording and digital music, we are facing tremendeous need on storage. Upgrading hard drive could solve the problem of storage, but how to solve the problem on backup?

Buying a big external storage could be a proper backup solution, but just like the problem of storage, the problem of backup is just growing as quickly. Right now my strategy is to use older hard drive as backup, what I'm doing is that:

1. Clean up older hard driver, so that no more software would be there, the space would be used solely for data

2. Copy all the data there, e.g: photograph, music, video, etc.

3. Disconnect all the power and cables, this could elongate their life

And afterward, we will need to update the data periodically so that the backup is closer than the real data.

This will work, for example in my case, my last hard drive is a 170G one and the new one is 350G. Give the existing one is about to fill up (only around 30-40G of free space), I will go for a bigger one.

But then the older two will be enough just for backup purpose. The chain goes on, and only the biggest two would be required for backup, and the smallest ones could be thrown away, or for backup even more important data which does not require any further updates.

Monday, March 29, 2010


無情的颱風, 貪污的警察, 都要拆毀他們的家...

小女孩刻意扮成不懂得熱帶魚, 對比著小男孩隨口的說說...

夫妻的緊握的一雙手, 一隻沒有介指, 另一隻卻仍舊...

深水埔的窮家子, 太平山上的富家女...


努的上進的哥哥, 挑皮的小弟弟...

可惡的醫護, 病床上的伯伯鄰居...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Replacement parts for really old PC

I upgraded my PC owing to the failure of the display card, it's hard to get replacement by then or else I won't shell out the money for upgrade. Recently, I found these in dealextreme, not bad after all:


And even PCI:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Potatoe chips (wet)

Maybe several hours after openning, they will get soft and the crisp feeling will be gone. There's a very simple trick to fix that.

Put it inside your micro-wave oven, give it 10-20 seconds and yeah.

Simple and fast.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Indicator of good vegetables

At least not much insecticides, chemicals, etc.

Friday, January 15, 2010

20100115 Partial Solar Eclipse

First contact video in H-alpha:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ugly profit driven business model?

I have been using a certain brand of product for quite long. They're very good in quality and the price is reasonable. It has been getting more popular over the years, and they even got listed in the local exchange.

Recently, there's a noticeably drop on the quality, I wonder why. I imagine the situation could be like this?

1. Start a new brand, offering great quality product at reasonable price, let say they can sell 10,000 every month. So, imagine if they cut cost of $0.1 for each item, they can only save 10,000*0.1 = $1000 only, not worth to do at all!

2. They have a bigger market share, now they can sell 1,000,000 every month and since they are more popular now, they have more control on the price, they have more bargaining power, so they can always increase the price a little bit without problem. Let say by $0.1 for each item, they can earn 1,000,000 * 0.1 = $100,000 more each month.

3. Now, they are one of the major players, they can sell 100M every month, they can virtually control the price until the consumer cannot afford, and they are now ready to reduce the quality, let say $0.1 for each item, they can earn 10M more each month.

Is that what is happening all these years? I wonder.