Monday, July 31, 2006

Efficient reading

The following was a note I took about how to improve English reading.


Reading is an essential skill for study. Being active with more thoughts and practices is the way to improve reading ability. There is no shortcut for it.

To be an efficient reader, what to read (purpose) and how to read (method) should be determined before actually reading anything. The decision of what to read or what not to read may be risky, but it must be worthwhile because a man’s ability is limited while information is infinite.

Method of reading depends on purpose of reading. Purpose of reading varies person to person, time to time, so the reading method varies as well. But, good reading habits have a great deal in common.

Improving reading speed and comprehension

The best practices to improve reading speed and comprehension:
  1. To read serious publications (newspapers, magazines, novels and bibliographies)
  2. To be open to read more and widely.
  3. To read regularly (per day for newspaper, per week for magazine)
  4. To read at the right level and in right areas relevant to studies.
  5. Better not to read gossip or informal publications or columns.
  6. Not to believe any shortcut.
The benefits of the above best practices:
  1. To improve reading speed and comprehension.
  2. To accustom in reading in wide, different areas.
  3. To learn professional writing skills.
  4. To extend vocabulary and feeling of the structures of professional writing.
Reading for different purposes
  1. To evaluate a resource book -> Use the contents page or index.
  2. To locate specific information -> Skim.
  3. To understand and remember specific content -> Read slowly and deliberately.
  4. To enjoy words and descriptions -> Read more relevantly or picture a scene.
  5. To read creative literature -> Read the whole work
  6. To read for leisure or entertainment -> Follow the author or read as you like.
Getting started on your reading

Learn general information first, study specific knowledge second.

The best practices to understand the reading set for a course:
  1. To begin with general introduction and read slowly.
  2. To learn unfamiliar words with the dictionary, explain in your own words, and review them regularly.
  3. To keep asking questions yourself and write down the answers.
  4. To refer to any relevant lecture or tutorial notes, and gain an overview of the topic.
  5. To break the reading into small sections and make notes on one section at a time.
  6. To ask for helps when the language or style is too difficult to be understood.
Reading to find information
Reading for assignments

Guided by the text layout of a candidate book or article, a quick survey gains the general overview about the book or article. It is essential for choosing a book worthwhile to read further.

The following checklist gives the items recommended to check in order:
  1. Titles of book chapter or article, for learning the general meanings.
  2. Authors’ information, for understanding authors point of view.
  3. Contents page, for learning the overview, especially for authors’ emphasis.
  4. Index for checking particular topics.
  5. Subheadings, for indicating specific content.
  6. Abstract, summary or synopsis, for learning the overview.
  7. Illustrations, diagrams and graphs and their captions, for getting further clues.
  8. The first paragraph or so of each chapter, for previewing.
  9. The first sentences of each paragraph, for reviewing.
  10. Record the publication details of helpful readings and manage them well.
Reading to remember
Taking notes to help you to remember

The best practices to remember the information in your readings:
  1. To interpret new information in terms of what you already know.
  2. To connect new information with what you already know or similar things.
  3. To understand the new information is the way to remember it in mind.
  4. To explain what you learn in your own words is the way to understand it.
  5. To clearly write it out in your language is the way to explain it and review it.
  6. To note only essential points and core meanings, leave out others.
  7. To use diagrams, sketches and graphs to give a picture of the information.
  8. To learn the whole rather than in parts.
  9. To use different methods for learning the same information.
  10. To read your own notes and do self-test regularly.
  11. To practise using the information or discuss it with others and write about it.
  12. To make up your own examples to help you understand and remember.
The conclusion (The SQ3R reading method)

Survey, Question, Read, Recall and Review are the five keys for efficient reading.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sydney Visual FoxPro User Group

Last night, I was invited to visit Microsoft Australia and attend a seminar of the Sydney Visual FoxPro User Group.

In the meeting, four senior FoxPro developers introduced and demonstrated their great applications based on Visual FoxPro, a 22-year-old database oriented programming language. One of the introduced products even has 15 years history, evolved from its first version written in Clipper! We discussed several relevant technical issues after the seminar.

I was happy that I could have this chance to meet these FoxPro enthusiasts there, because I was a FoxPro fan too, though I haven't been using it to actually develop something for years.

Microsoft Visual FoxPro is currently the most fast-growing language on the programming market, according to the proven index ranked by TIOBE Software.

It was really a nice meeting. I enjoyed the time with the new friends, as well as the nice pizza provided by Microsoft. :-))

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Experiencing web filtering in China

Yesterday, I read some Chinese book reviews of a biography, The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin, who was the former president and party chief of China from 1989 to 2003; and I incidentally experienced how Chinese websites filter the web contents themselves.

When I jumped to a Chinese web page at from one of the search results of Google, instead of displaying the actual content of that page, a strange page titled "The First-Class Information Monitoring and Blocking (IMB) System" was shown as follows:

"The Information Monitoring System reminds you: it is regretted that, since the content that you have submitted or accessed contained forbidden keywords OR your IP was access restricted, your request has been cancelled. The system has logged your IP and the data that you have submitted. Please be advised that do not submit any content that may violate the state's regulation. The intercepted keyword in this session was: Jiang Zemin"

Of course, the original information shown above was in Chinese:

"一流信息监控拦截系统 (IMB System)"


Afterward, my Firefox prompted "The connection was reset". According to the WHOIS result from APNIC, this web server should be physically located at the IDC Center of Beijing Telecom, Beijing, China.

I then curiously googled the above title and prompt in Chinese and realized that the blocking was conducted by a third party software running on the web site, not the well-known Great Firewall operated by the government.

This software is developed by Xing Wai Information Technology Co., Ltd., a server software provider in China. They have just upgraded their IMB system to version 3.35 which has supported automatic permissions presetting. They have also listed some of their clients on their web site, including local governments, ISPs, ICPs and hotels.

The funny thing is that how they select the default keywords to be intercepted. They always treat the state leaders' names, such as Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, as the forbidden keywords, even demonstrate the variant names of Jiang in their promotion introduction.

Together, Google shows that the other prohibited keywords include, but not limited to, 六合彩 (Mark Six, a lotto game in Hong Kong), 赌博 (Gambling), 达赖 (Dalai Lama, the supreme head of Tibetan Buddhism), 大法 (the short form of Falun Gong), 国民党 (Kuomintang, a political party currently active in Taiwan), 台独 (Taiwan Independence ), 中共 (the acronym of Communist Party of China), 反共 (Anti-communism) and 民运 (the acronym of Chinese Democracy Movement), as well as those porn related words, such as 激情电影 (Adult Film), 强奸 (rape), 口交 (oral sex) and the names of sex organs.

So the really funny thing is that the IMB system actually classifies the state leaders' names and the hardcore words in the same category. This is workable, but sounds like a black comedy, hehe... ;-))

As to the reason of why a lot of websites have deployed this IMB system, it is quiet simple: to minimize the business disruption from the government departments. The website owners may as well to monitor their web content themselves as to be forcedly censored with spending extra time and money to negotiate with the officials.

By the way, I believe this post will be absolutely kicked out by any Chinese blog system and online forum in China because it contains too many bloody words to be banned, hehe. :-))

Moreover, I have also noticed that this post is NOT recommended by while people clicking on the Next Blog button at the top of each blog page, probably because of the enumerated pornographic words, though the subject of this post is very serious.

Censorship is anywhere!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Downgrading MDaemon from 8.1.4 to 7.2.3

I just successfully downgraded a MDaemon mail system from 8.14 back to 7.2.3. It's a challenge and a time-consuming job. I had to be careful and patient all the time, because:MDAEMON
  • it is a critical system for the business of the server's owner;
  • all the current user accounts and their emails must be preserved;
  • all the relevant system settings of current mail server should be kept as well;
  • down time is only allowed in the gap between the work time in Asia and Europe;
  • all the operations should be done remotely;
  • the connection speed between China and Australia is awfully slow.
The last recommended upgrade of the mail server could not be activated for free, and then its WebAdmin did not function any more after conducting the restore procedure suggested by the new version's document. So I was recently asked to restore the mail system back to its initial version as well as to expand its disk space.

The MDaemon email server runs Windows 2003 Server on a virtual machine (VM) hosted by VMware GSX Server. Its W2K3 system partition has a Ghost image saved on the DOS partition of this VM. The first installation of MDaemon 7.2.3 has a full backup stored on the third partition containing current MDaemon system and data files. I created all the above backups after I set up the whole system for production running. These backups are essential for this downgrade operation.

The virtual mail server, as well as other VMs, is hosted by a Dell PowerEdge server physically located at an ISP in Jinan, China, more than 8,600 kilometres away from Sydney in where I am currently living. All the operations were done remotely, by either Remote Desktop or DRAC4 Console, over the Internet via VPN. Thanks to Dell's Console Redirect, a Java applet based application, I can remotely "see" the server's screen, no matter what OS the server runs, even in naked BIOS mode! So I can even remotely re-configure the server's RAID settings and completely reinstall all software from its DVD and tape drive. In fact, even when I was physically beside the server, I would still use the DRAC4 Console to access it because the server has no monitor and no keyboard at all!

The following are the steps from the beginning to the end. The key steps are underlined.
  1. Shutdown the VM of this mail server.
  2. Backup the mail server by copying its VM files to another partition on the host server.
  3. Remove the 2nd virtual disk specializing for emails from the mail server VM.
  4. Delete the corresponding virtual disk file to free up disk space.
  5. Shutdown other VMs staying on the same partition of the mail server VM.
  6. Defrag the above partition on the host server.
  7. Start the other VMs that were stopped before the defragment.
  8. Create a new 80 GB virtual SCSI disk with fixed size and name it literally.
  9. Add the new disk to the mail server VM, as the 2nd SCSI disk.
  10. Copy back the virtual disk files containing the email backups from another partition
  11. Rename the virtual disk files literally and edit the .vmdk file respectively.
  12. Attach the above virtual disk back to the mail server VM, as the 3rd hard disk.
  13. Start the email server VM from VMware VM console.
  14. Choose MS-DOS at the Startup menu of Windows 2003 Server.
  15. Run Ghost to restore the system partition from the image on the DOS partition.
  16. Reboot the email server VM to the Windows 2003 that was just restored.
  17. Login as Administrator and shutdown all MDaemon's services
  18. Run MMC/Disk Management and confirm that a new hard disk has been added.
  19. Rename the partition on the 3rd disk initially for emails from drive letter M to N.
  20. Reboot the email server and ignore the error message for not started system services.
  21. Login as Administrator and run MMC/Disk Management again.
  22. Allocate the whole of 2nd empty disk for logical drive M and format it with NTFS.
  23. Run NTBackup to restore MDaemon's first installation back to drive M.
  24. Copy the following folders from drive N to the corresponding folders on drive M.

    • Archives
    • Localq
    • RawFiles
    • Badmsgs
    • LockFiles
    • Remoteq
    • CFilter
    • Logs
    • SpamAssassin
    • Digests
    • OldFiles
    • Temp
    • Domains
    • Pem
    • Users
    • Gateways
    • PublicFolders
    • Inbound
    • Queues

  25. Copy the following files from the App folder on drive N to the same folder on drive M.

    • alias.dat
    • multipop.dat
    • domains.dat
    • tarpit.dat
    • forward.dat
    • userlist.dat

  26. Shutdown the Windows 2003 and stop the mail server VM.
  27. Re-configure the VM to remove the 3rd virtual disk, leave it therehost as a spare disk
  28. Start the mail server VM again.
  29. Boot the VM into Windows 2003 Server and login as Administrator.
  30. Run MDaemon' console to adjust some system settings as necessary.
Recommended readings:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Vista Build 5472 is now available

---------- Forwarded message ----------Vista Logo
From: Microsoft Connect
Date: Jul 20, 2006 1:23 PM
Subject: Build 5472 Is Now Available for Download!
To: Bing Bao
Dear Longhorn / Windows Vista Beta Tester,

We are pleased to announce that build 5472 of Windows Vista is available for your testing! This build contains numerous fixes since build 5456 and demonstrates significant progress on customer feedback since Beta 2. Most notably a new Nvidia driver has fixed many reported issues and recent changes should provide improved Windows Media Center performance. You should be aware though that this is an interim build and while significant testing is always done, it has not undergone the rigorous testing that Beta 2 did. We believe that most people will find this build improved but as with any interim you may encounter issues we do not yet know about. Please move up to this build from any previous build and tell us about any problems you encounter.

What we ask that you do with this build: ...

Product Keys

Your previous keys from package [5342 and Up] will continue activate Ultimate edition and your Beta 2 keys for Home, Home Premium, and Business will continue to work. Please remember that you may request 3 Ultimate keys and 1 Home/Premium Premium/Business and each key will activate 5 distinct machines and that your activations are reset with each new build you install.

Release Notes ...

With each build we move closer to our goal and always want to hear what you think!

The Longhorn/Windows Vista Beta Team

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Revising the final draft of GB/T 19668.5

I have finished revising the final draft of the Chinese national standard GB/T 19668.5 in the last two days. It was a tough job. I had to revise the whole standard sentence by sentence, even word by word, because of those vague, ambiguous even confusing dictions throughout the draft, as well as the issue of informal writing. Commonly, these kinds of problems shouldn't have appeared in a final draft of national standard!

It seemed that several people have modified the last draft after I left for Australia. It also seemed to be a punishment for that I didn't attend the last three workgroup meetings in Beijing this year, hehe.

Even so, to be honest, I am still not satisfied with the current version I just revised, but it seems that I can not optimize the work as best as I can because of my limited time and the deadline of submitting the final draft to the NITS (China National Information Technology Standardization Technical Committee).

Anyway, it is not that bad because I have a coupled reciprocal workmate who helps me to modify the contexts efficiently, especially those repetitive modifications. He is a fast shooter, I am a fast thinker. The combination sounds good, doesn't? :-)

Additionally, the acronym GB/T stands for Recommended National Standard in English. GB/T 19668.5 is a Chinese national standard, a supplementary part of GB/T 19668.1-2005 Information System Project Surveillance Specification - Part 1 - General Rules (published), which specialises for supervising software development by third parties. We are the major contributors of these two national standards.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Firefox does not work with some printers

I have eventually fixed up the no printing problem of my Firefox today. The Firefox had not worked with some printer drivers on my computer for a few months. I tried to simply reinstall the suspected driver and also consulted with other people online at Firefox's newsgroup, but not helped much to this strange problem. Finally I had to spend a bit more time getting rid of it thoroughly.


Firefox does not work with the following printer drivers on my tablet computer though it works well with another printer driver, PrimoPDF - a free virtual printer driver to create PDF files.
  1. Journal Note Writer
  2. Microsoft Fax Printer
  3. Microsoft Office Document Image Writer
It is not a fault of above virtual printer drivers provided by Microsoft because all of them can work smoothly with any other applications installed on the notebook, except this Firefox. The PrimoPDF driver works fine with all applications including the Firefox.

When you print a web page for the first time after starting up Firefox, the File/Print (Ctrl+P) dialogue box may appear, so all the available printers on the system can be chosen as the output device. After choosing one of the above listed printer drivers, their Save As window may appear, allow you select the file to be printed in a relevant file format, such .JNT (Windows Journal File) or .MDI (Office Document Image File). Then the printer's program quits or just hangs on the screen. Certainly, no output file can be generated.

When you print a web page for the second time after then, choosing File/Print from Firefox's menu only leads to a message box saying "Print Error". You can no longer print even with PrimoPDF. After restarting Firefox, you can print only with PrimoPDF , but not others.

  1. Adjust some possibly related settings of those Microsoft printer drivers, no effect.
  2. Uninstall and reinstall PrimoPDF, all do not help.
  3. Reinstall Firefox, no help.
  4. Backup Firefox's profile data under Documents and Settings folder.
  5. Uninstall Firefox, clean up all its programs and data left, reinstall Firefox, it works!
  6. Backup the new Firefox's profile data, cleanup the new profile folder.
  7. Copy old backup files back to the newly named profile folder, no print again!
  8. Restore the new Firefox's profile data.
  9. Copy only the followings sub-folders of old profile to the new folder, it works again!

    • bookmarkbackups
    • chrome
    • extensions
    • forecastfox
    • gm_scripts
    • searchplugins

  10. Search files that contain "print" in the root folder of old Firefox's profile, 3 files found:

    • bookmarks.html (not related)
    • cookies.txt (not related)
    • prefs.js (suspected!)


  11. Edit the old "prefs.js" file, remove all the saved printing preferences.
  12. Copy all old backup files back to the new profile folder again, the it works!

Mistakenly saved printer preferences in Prefs.js file may cause Firefox to send incompatible parameters to the relevant printer driver and even cause the driver to terminate itself. And therefore, since probably Firefox can not obtain the return value from the printer driver, it keeps the "unknown" status and simply prompts "Print error" while requested to print again.


This ought to be a bug, at least a defect, of current version of Firefox. I will send a bug report to the dev team of Firefox later.


Some default installation folders of Firefox on Windows XP:
  • Program Files: %ProgramFiles%\Mozilla Firefox
  • Default New Profile: %ProgramFiles%\Mozilla Firefox\defaults\profile
  • User Profile: %UserProfile%\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default
  • User Extensions: %UserProfile%\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default\extensions
  • User Cache: %UserProfile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default\Cache
(where "xxxxxxxx" is a random string described in the "profiles.ini" file in its grandparent folder.
  • Global Extensions: %ProgramFiles%\Mozilla Firefox\extensions

Acer TravelMate C110 Tablet Computer
Intel Pentium M Processor ULV 753/1.2GHz, 2048 MB Memory, 60 GB Hard Disk
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 Version 2002 SP2, US English
Firefox for Windows, US English
Internet Explorer 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp.051011-1528

Thursday, July 13, 2006

RFC for Fried Chicken Legs v2.0

The new product FCL v2 has been submitted for RFC status at here (in Chinese). :-))

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The crazy Japanese

"I don't know what they're saying but you'll be laughing your butt off when you see this!"

Monday, July 10, 2006

Why I do NOT search Baidu, never!

An Anti-Baidu AllianceMany sources have recently reported that Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) has registered to sell the entire stake in its Chinese competitor, Baidu (Nasdaq:BIDU), to develop a rival product. I think it seems to be good news.

I personally never search Baidu for any kind of information. The search engines I use are just popular ones: Google, Yahoo! and MSN, intensively for Google. The only difference is that I only access their US English versions, NOT their Chinese versions. I never visit any eunuch version (censored version) of the search engines, such as, and of course!

Briefly, I have 10 reasons NOT to search at all:
  1. It can not search me, for either my nickname or full name in Chinese/English.
  2. It's not for English content, actually not for all kinds of non-Chinese content.
  3. It's full of ads, thanks to its P4P, it's not so much a search engine as an ads portal.
  4. It's strictly filtered; there is only one kind of monotonous voice there, no stereo.
  5. It's not objective, ads and adjustments are mixed in originally incomplete results.
  6. It does evil; its immoral competitions were reported, including blocking Google.
  7. It has no creativity, almost all of its product concepts were copied from the others.
  8. It's not professional, defects and bugs are quite common in all their products.
  9. It has an ugly logo, and a bear footprint makes no sense to attribute its brand name.
  10. It designs ugly pages, though the original designs were obviously from Google.
  1. It's actually not a Chinese company, it is an American firm registered overseas.
  2. All of its chief executives title an awful Western name though they claim that it is a Chinese company, they are Chinese, and they work for the global Chinese. Actually, they just did the opposites!
If it is possible, I'd like to explain the above points one by one. Well, it depends on my time.

Moreover, Wikipedia currently has several articles about Baidu, but all the non-Chinese versions are not comprehensive, which only give the basic information without those objective criticisms mentioned in the Chinese version. This might be an example explaining why most foreigners, especially investors, do not actually know what the real Baidu is.

Basically, I really do NOT like such a company, although it claims as a Chinese company, which I should support or at least I shouldn't be against. Unfortunately, NO! I do NOT, because it seems to be evil!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What are Internet, Intranet and Extranet?

WIKI LOGOI recently added the following shortest definitions for Internet, Intranet and Extranet in their Wikipedia articles, though they are not new concepts even out-of-date sometimes:

"The Internet can be briefly understood as a network of networks."
"Briefly, an intranet can be understood as a private version of the Internet."
"Briefly, an extranet can be understood as a private internet over the Internet."

Additionally, an internet (lowercase i) refers to any interconnected networks, including those not based on TCP/IP protocol suite. Therefore, an extranet can be referred to non-IP networks (such as IPX/SPX networks) interconnected over the Internet via VPN.

A short definition does not mean its connotation is "short" too, right?

For the above four definitions, the "Internet" one was what I learnt; the "Intranet" and "internet" ones are my personal understandings though some people say so as well; the "Extranet" one is newly defined by me, hence there is no people saying the same today, at least on the Internet covered by Google. :-)

Giving a brief definition actually needs a better understanding, and commonly makes it more easy to be understood by other people.

I like using brief definitions.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The recent reactions supporting Huang

The Huang Jianxiang's commentary incident seems not to be end till now. As widely distributed as his commentary on the net, the rumours about his career future was also widely spread over the net or by word of mouth in China. This recently sparked more reactions from Huang's supporters in the country.

The people supporting Huang launched several columns and forums online to voice their points of view in public in order to distinctively support Huang to continue his commentating on the subsequent World Cup matches and to prevent CCTV penalizing even dismissing him after the incident. Similarly as the criticism from Huang's boss, lost his voice, lost his cool, lost his politeness and lost his mind (失声失态失礼失常), they enumerated their main reasons in six brief Chinese sentences at a supportive column hosted by NetEase:
  1. Huang was wrong, his passion was not unforgivable (激情解说, 罪不致死)
  2. his apology was not unacceptable (知错就改, 应给机会)
  3. his patriotism was not wrong (拳拳之心, 爱国无罪)
  4. sports is not politics (这是体育, 不是政治)
  5. as a devotee of Italian soccer for years, his enthusiasm was not unreasonable (多年意迷, 可以理解)
  6. at CCTV, Huang is not replaceable (黄在央视, 无可取代)
Anyway, the state-run CCTV has confirmed that Huang will commentate on the final between Italy and France the day after tomorrow. It sounds like really good news for those supporters of Huang, as well as me, though I will not hear his live voice from Australia.

Will Huang shout again for his enthused Italian team? :-))

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fried Chicken Legs Version 2.0

People today do like using 2.0 to name their products for attracting more attention even no connection between them at all. Now I am very happy to introduce my new product, Fried Chicken Legs Version 2.0!

To find out about the new and exciting features, please click here. To compare the previous version with the new upgrade, please click here. Need help? Click here!

Another creative new product, Spanish Seafood Rice Version 2.0 is also released today! A partner of mine proudly announced the amazing features of this product: NO seafood pot used, NO olive oil added, NO saffron crocus added, and NO Italian rice added. Additionally, NO criticism welcomed. Anyway, the seafood was absolutely added. Why 'Spanish' is titled in the product name is still mysterious to me. :-)))

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Secretly on the top of the tallest Twin Towers

Today, I discussed several network security issues with a friend who was planning a large enterprise network spanning over several provinces in China. His well-revised proposal covered almost every aspect of the great project, but only few words were related to how to implement security management after deploying the entire network. He thought applying the most advanced technology was the first thing he should consider. I then told him a real story of mine to explain why only equipping high-techs is absolutely not enough.

The photo at right is the spire of one of the currently tallest twin towers in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The smaller one at its right is Kuala Lumpur Tower, the fourth highest telecom tower in the world standing at 421 meters high, though it looks more little than the Twin Towers. I took this picture after I secretly climbed on to the top-storey (88th) of another tower on 2nd May 2005.

The Twin Towers are commonly not opened to the public, and mainly occupied by the towers' builder, Petronas Company, and the subsidiaries of some world-class Big Shots such as Boeing, IBM, McKinsey and Microsoft. The Skybridge between the two towers on 41st and 42nd floor is the only part opened to all visitors, but passes limited to 1400 people per day.

Before visiting the Skybridge with other common tourists, I watched the Twin Towers' documentary film in the Tower Two's exhibition room. The film introduced the specifications of the two towers and their strongly restricted security system utilising lots of high-tech equipments and several fault-tolerant control systems. During my visit to the Skybridge, we had to follow a fixed route to pass the security check, enter the elevator, walk on the Skybridge and leave the building.

It seemed impossible for me to visit the Twin Towers' top-floor that day, but I was not resigned myself. I still wanted to try it. I was seeking a chance while window-shopping at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) below the two towers.

However, at last, I successfully entered the Tower Two again and reached the peak after utilizing a few tricks of social engineering to get around the security check and surveillances. Before I actually stood on the topmost, I entered the building's control room at floor 87. I even checked the security logs of that room. The last stage to the reach the peak was not to walk with steps, it was to climb, because the only approach to the top-platform was just a ladder!

I stayed on the uppermost platform for almost one hour, studied the every detail I was interesting in, including how they cleaned the external windows of the towers, how to climb into the spire of the building and what kind of metal they used for the towers. Of course, I enjoyed the fantastic scenery of the whole Kuala Lumpur, a 360 degree panoramic view of birds-eye!

I was not a terrorist. I was just a curious tourist, as well as a network security specialist. I did not use any high-tech devices there, except the cameras with me. The radio talker in my pocket was turned off after I got into the building to prevent any possible interference and detection. Finally, I quitted from the building smoothly. It was really a challenge!

The question is why any staff didn’t stop me??

As an IT professional who loves all kinds of new technology, I still have to say, technology does not mean everything to us, though it is essential. The key is how people will actually use it to improve their business as well as to protect themselves. It is not rare that some people deploy a security system earnestly but do not use it the same way.

By the way, since 2004, the highest building in the world has become the Taipei 101 Tower in Taipei, Taiwan. "At 508 meters (1,667 feet) high, the tower and its spire outrank the Petronas Twin Towers", though the record of tallest TWIN towers still belongs to Malaysia.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Challenge yourself with Flash games

Today I would like to introduce 10 more online Flash games I ever collected. They are simple, but really fast, cool, funny and of course enjoyable! You may bookmark this post so you can enjoy the great games later.
  1. Ball Toucher, Fly Squish and Throw Paper...
  2. Flowing
  3. Home Run
  4. Levels
  5. Maze Frenzy
  6. Mini Copter
  7. Plumber
  8. Poom!
  9. Programming Language Inventor or Serial Killer?
  10. Road Blcok
Moreover, I ever introduced another online Flash game in April. It is a great funny game to test how fast your reactions are, see the above Flash if your browser has enabled it.

Please do not look down on the mini games, and do not think they are just games for kids. You really need enough intelligence and fast reactions to challenge them. ;-)) In fact, nowadays, Flash technology is not only "a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages", but also becoming an approach to develop rich Internet applications like portals, games even some business productivity software like Microsoft Office.

Briefly, I think a Flash based application has the following advantages comparing with a traditional "Thick Clients"application.
  • Online and offline compatible
  • Small even tiny, easy to download or distribute
  • Green, no installation and lower deployment cost
  • Platform independent, binary compatible across platforms (hardware/software)
  • Native Internet support
  • Rich-media content capability
  • Lower CPU usage
Actually, we are not only enjoying the wonderful games, we are feeling a trend of next generation software in the near future.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Is Scolari a soap director?

SCOLARIThe game between England and Portugal is undergoing at the moment. Every time a Portuguese player falls down on the ground, he must look like a poor doormat with an extremely exaggerated expression, whatever it is a fault of his opponent or himself and whatever he is actually offended or not. This has happened for N times in last 90 minutes. Those actors must be following a predefined instruction or strategy from Scolari. Of course, this is a well-known trick to win some points in front of referees. But, please, please do NOT be so stereotyped, or be a bit professional, OK? :-))

Is Scolari a soap director? He seems to be a good coach, but NOT a good soap director.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Google Analytics Report for June 2006

Google AnalyticsA piece of Google Analytics' tracking code was installed on this blog on 7 June 2006. Since then, in last 24 days, without any marketing, this blog has been visited by people speaking 21 languages at least* from 131 domains via 192 networks in 245 cities from 125 regions over 41 countries, excluding my traffic.

Totally, there were 376 visits and 561 pageviews; averagely, 1/2 visitors viewed two or more pages. Specifically, 47% of the total visits were from United States and Canada, 23% from Europe, 14% from Asia, 10% from Australia and New Zealand, 5% from South America, and 1% from Middle East and Africa. Additionally, 76% of the total visits were from other Blog users (readers and writers), 18% from direct access (mainly returning visits) and 6% from Google search.

Most visitors were new guests who accessed here for the first time, returning visitors were 10% of total. The referring sources primarily were (, and

Moreover, although this is a new-started blog and its traffic is currently lower, I still have found a few interesting facts from the data compiled by Google Analytics.

1. The report shows that the most blog users (exactly, the most users of were from the United States, Europe and Asia, especially the States.

2. Except China, there was NO any visit from the socialist states, either the current ones or the former ones, including Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Russia, all the former members of USSR, as well as the former brothers of USSR, such as Bulgaria, Hungry, Mongolia, Poland , Romania and the areas of former Yugoslavia.

3. There was NO referred access from other blog users from China, though I know there are many thousands bloggers out there, because all the blogs hosted by and, including this blog, are currently blocked by the Chinese government.

4. There was NO visit from the whole of Africa, except Egypt and Morocco.

5. There were NO blog users from the large areas in the north of latitude 55° N (except the few from Sweden and Alaska, US). This also includes most of Canada, Russia and the whole of Greenland.

Personally, I do not believe the second "fact" were true. It seems that Google has NOT obtained the latest IP databases which contain the newly assigned IP segments for those former socialist countries.

* The above visits were not included for the unknown items: 106 for Domain, 11 for Network, 22 for City, 41 for Region and 2 for country.