Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam hanged with 'fear in his face'

SADDAMCNN reports that "Saddam Hussein was hanged Saturday for crimes committed in a brutal crackdown during his reign, U.S. and Iraqi sources tell CNN. Iraq's national security adviser said: 'He was a broken man... You could see fear in his face.' President Bush called the execution 'an important milestone' for Iraq".

The execution took place shortly after 6am local time (2pm Sydney Time). Just 5 minutes before that time (13:57:45), I sent a short message to my Iraqi friend, saying "Saddam is going to be executed in FIVE minutes!"

The time could be reasonably speculated.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Boss commenting on Day Off


"So you want a day off. Let's take a look at exactly what you are asking for.

There are 365 days per year available for work. There are 52 weeks per year in which you already have two days off per week leaving 261 days available for work. Since you spend 16 hours per day away from work, you have used up 170 days, leaving only 91 days available. You spend 30 minutes each day on coffee break that accounts for 23 days each year, leaving only 68 days available. With a 1-hour lunch period each day, you have used up another 46 days, leaving only 22 days available for work.

You normally spend two days per year on sick leave; this leaves you only 20 days available for work. We offer 5 holidays per year, so your available working time is down to 15 days. We generously give you 14 days vacation per year which leaves you only 1 day available for work. And I'll be darned if you are going to take that day off !!!"




Chinese pronunciation and intonations

Most non-English native speakers might think that English pronunciation is difficult for them. I thought so too. But now I reckon that Chinese pronunciation and intonations might be more complicated and difficult, and very different from English. Why? See my story below.

One day, I received an email from a friend who was going to fly back to Australia from China. He asked me to pick him up at the Sydney airport on the day he came back. I briefly replied his email with one sentence in Chinese to confirm my availability.

The sentence I intended to write was "我会按时到悉尼机场接机" ("I will pick you up at the Sydney airport on time"), but what I actually wrote and sent out was "我会按时到悉尼机场劫机" ("I will hijack the plane at the Sydney airport on time"), because the two Chinese words "接机" and "劫机" share the same pronunciation (though in different intonations), hence the same spelling "Jie Ji" in Pinyin (the transliterating system for Chinese).

I was sure that my friend could understand my horrific message correctly because it should be a common spelling mistake for people who used Pinyin to input Chinese on computer. But I was not sure if that email has been filtered, intercepted, or possibly noticed by FBI or CIA, or any other security organisation, hehe. :-))

Then, I was curious to know how many Chinese words share the same pronunciation of "Jie Ji". After I checked it on my computer, I was absolutely surprised! Guess what? 13 words, in totally different meanings! Amazing, isn't it?

Let's see them one by one in different intonations.
  • 接机 (Jīe Jī): Pickup somebody at airport
  • 阶级 (Jīe Jī): Social class
  • 接济 (Jīe Jì): Give financial aid
  • 劫机 (Jíe Jī): Hijack airplane
  • 截击 (Jíe Jī): Intercept and attack
  • 结集 (Jíe Jí): Meet together
  • 解急 (Jǐe Jí): Must go to the toilet
  • 解己 (Jǐe Jǐ): Help me…
  • 解系 (Jǐe Jì): Loosen then tighten up
  • 借机 (Jìe Jī): Take the opportunity
  • 借吉 (Jìe Jí): Take the luck
  • 借记 (Jìe Jì): Debit
  • 戒忌 (Jìe Jì): Taboo
Here are a few more similar examples:
  • 毛纺 (Máo Fǎng): Wool spinning
  • 茅房 (Máo Fáng): Privy (informal)
  • 猫房 (Māo Fáng): Cat's room
Are you going to learn Chinese now? Haha! :-D

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Moved to Chatswood

"Chatswood is a suburb in North Shore in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and the seat of the City of Willoughby local government area. Chatswood is believed to be named after the pet name "Chat" of the second wife of Richard Harnett (a pioneer of the district) and the original "wooded" nature of the area."

"At 54.7%, most people in the suburb speak only English. However, 39.8% of the population speak a language other than English. The second largest language group are Chinese languages (19.6% of population), followed by Korean (3.2%), Japanese (2.7%), Italian (2.2%), Armenian (1.7%), Croatian (1.3%), Indonesian (1.0%), Arabic (1.0%), Tagalog (0.9%), Greek (0.8%).

Of the 47% people born overseas in Chatswood, most were born in China (6.5%), Hong Kong (5.5%), United Kingdom (4.1%), Taiwan (3.4%), New Zealand (3.3%), Japan (2.3%), Indonesia (1.5%), Italy (1.4%), India (1.3%) and Malaysia (1.1%). In 2001 4348 people were born in a country of Non-English Speaking Background."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Yue and Vonny's wedding

Arnold Jansen Chapel
Divine Word Missionaries Hall
199 Epping Road, Masfield NSW 2122, Australia
Canon IXUS 50, F/3.5, 1/100 sec, 8 mm, ISO 50, Pattern Mode, 13:19, 9 December 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

NO bug submissions for Windows Vista

---------- Forwarded message ----------Vista Logo
From: Microsoft Connect
Date: 02-Dec-2006 08:31
Subject: Thank You for Helping Make Windows Vista ROCK!
To: Bing Bao
Dear Bing,

As many of you know, we announced the business availability of the Windows Vista operating system and the 2007 release of Microsoft Office yesterday in New York City. The Windows Vista Beta Team would like to thank each of you for the incredible contributions you have made over the past 16 months!!! Windows Vista is the product it is because you, our valued beta testers, gave us such exceptional feedback.

Over the next several weeks as we wrap up the beta program and turn our attention to server, you will notice the following changes on Connect:
  • Please discontinue bug submissions for Windows Vista. Windows Vista is a released product and after launch you should use normal product support channels if you encounter any issues. You may begin filing bugs against Longhorn Server when the next build is released.

  • All old and outdated content on Connect (builds, documentation, surveys, etc) will be removed.

  • Windows Vista-specific newsgroups will be closed on December 10, 2006 at which time all posts will be removed from the server. If you wish to archive any information please do so before then.

  • If you opt-in to continue to test Longhorn server and are accepted, you will see additional server-specific newsgroups added.
At this time, we would like to announce a few opportunities that will begin in the near future that may be of interest to you.
  • Windows Longhorn Server Beta - To continue providing feedback to the Windows Longhorn Server beta, please complete the opt-in survey located here.

  • Windows Early Feedback - To submit early suggestions and design feedback to make the next version of Windows the best release yet, please complete the opt-in survey located here. The Windows early feedback program is being initially offered only to Vista beta program participants. This program will allow you to submit and vote on suggestions for the next version of Windows.
Again, our warmest thanks and congratulations on helping us ship the best OS yet!!

The Longhorn/Windows Vista Beta Team

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Proof of global warming

-----Original Message-----
From: Rogers
Sent: Tuesday, 14 November 2006 4:23 PM
Subject: FW: proof of global warming

* The above picture is from a forwarded email, the original source is unknown.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Corruption Perceptions Index 2006

The 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), launched on 6 Nov 2006 by Transparency International (TI), "points to a strong correlation between corruption and poverty, with a concentration of impoverished states at the bottom of the ranking."

The World Map of Corruption Perceptions Index 2006

Finland, Iceland and New Zealand rank No.1 as the most transparent countries in the world. Australia ranks nine with Netherlands, followed by Austria, Luxembourg, UK and
Canada. USA ranks 20.

Singapore ranks five as the most transparent country in Asia. Hong Kong, the SAR of China, ranks 15 as the second in this region while the communist mainland China only ranks 70, even much lower than the rank 34 which is attributed to Taiwan, a province of China.

It is a shame for China. In fact, it is a shame for the Communist Party of China (CPC), the sole party in power in China which hypocritically claims that it always represents "the requirements of the development of China's advanced productive forces, the orientation of the development of China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in China" (The Three Represents, 三个代表).

Nowadays, the CPC just represents corruption in a lot of people's minds in mainland China.

注一:透明国际 (Transparency International) 成立于 1993 年,总部位于德国柏林,是一个旨在反对贪污腐败的国际非政府组织。透明国际从 1995 年起公布被调查国家的清廉指数。
注二:透明国际 (TI) 提供中文版的 《2006年清廉指数》 报告,点击此处可下载。

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Microsoft announces Virtual Earth 3D

Microsoft announced the launch of Virtual Earth 3D today, as well as its Interactive SDK for software developers. It's a Microsoft product competing with Google Earth which is also free of charge since it released in 2005. But, they are quite different.

What’s unique about Virtual Earth 3D compared to the competition? Kevin Briody, of Microsoft's Online Services Group, outlined the distinctions in his email to partners:
  • Virtual Earth 3D platform runs within the browser. Google Earth’s 3D program is standalone and requires a separate download.
  • Google Earth 3D provides grey scale boxes of buildings. Virtual Earth 3D provides an immersive textured mapping experience with photorealistic textured buildings that are created by our Virtual Earth product team.
  • Google relies on developers to incorporate textures to buildings for their 3D mapping experience. Virtual Earth 3D has the capability of providing photorealistic textured buildings in-house.
  • All of VE 3D’s immersive mapping experience is created in-house, from the cameras themselves to the algorithmic program that develops the textured 3D models.
Specifically, when people visit Live Search (, type a query into the search bar and click the “maps” tab, they get their search results in a map context that offers the option to explore the area using two-dimensional views (aerial and exclusive bird’s-eye imagery) or three dimensional models with Virtual Earth 3D.

At launch, Microsoft’s 3D imagery is available for 15 cities in the States, including:
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Boston, MA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Dallas, TX
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Denver, CO
  • Detroit, MI
  • San Jose, CA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Houston, TX
Microsoft is continually adding new cities to Virtual Earth 3D and are actively working to expand to other countries in the near future.

Starting with the TerraServer project, Microsoft has worked in mapping areas for 10 years. The other products include Microsoft MapPoint and my favorite Microsoft Streets & Trips. The succeeded one is the #1 best-selling travel and map software that works well with GPS and PPC. I use it since 1998.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The great overbridges in Beijing

LOL! Are those IQ testing bridges? :-))

Source: 北京的立交桥

Monday, October 30, 2006

The North Korean army girls

The recent Reuters news photos published at Yahoo! News unveil what North Korean soldiers recently did at the bank of Yalu River opposite China, including the North Korean army girls serving at the border with China.

What is happening on the bank of Yalu River?

What is happening on the bank of Yalu River after the first ever nuclear test of North Korea? The following recently published news photos may answer this question. These photos were taken by several news photographers of Reuters and AFP at the Chinese border town of Dandong, opposite the bank of the Yalu River at the North Korean town of Sinuiju. These news photos are from from Yahoo! News.

It seems like nothing happened: North Koreans play, chat, read or do nothing as before,

and sometimes they look happy.

Most time they just stand there silently and watch.

But something changes: North Koreans start to be unfriendly to the people in China,

and even throw stones from their side or point their rifles at the people in China.

Even so, some North Koreans still seem friendly...