Saturday, September 30, 2006

Inside the IKEA store in Sydney

Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/8 sec, ISO 50, 09:11, 30 September 2006.

Monday, September 25, 2006

China intercepts Gmail?

GMAILIt seems that China has recently intercepted the communication between some mail servers in China and the Gmail servers in the States by utilising the exactly same mean that has been practised on

See the following log from a victimized mail server:

18:43:02: [4:2] P=005 TTL=(41) MX=[] {}
18:43:02: [4:2] Attempting MX: P=005 TTL=(41) MX=[] {}
18:43:02: [4:2] Attempting SMTP connection to [ : 25]
18:43:02: [4:2] Waiting for socket connection...
18:43:02: [4:2] Socket connection established (x.x.x.x : 1038 -> : 25)
18:43:02: [4:2] Waiting for protocol initiation...
18:43:02: [4:2] <-- 220 ESMTP j7si1736987nzd
18:43:02: [4:2] --> EHLO
18:43:03: [4:2] <-- at your service, [x.x.x.x]
18:43:03: [4:2] <-- 250-SIZE 20971520
18:43:03: [4:2] <-- 250-8BITMIME
18:43:03: [4:2] <-- 250 ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES
18:43:03: [4:2] --> MAIL From: SIZE=43842
18:43:03: [4:2] <-- 250 2.1.0 OK
18:43:03: [4:2] --> RCPT To:
18:43:04: [4:2] <-- 250 2.1.5 OK
18:43:06: [4:2] --> DATA
18:43:06: [4:2] <-- 354 Go ahead
18:43:06: [4:2] Sending to []
19:11:42: [4:2] Winsock Error 10054 Connection was reset by the other side!
19:11:42: [4:2] Error writing to socket

19:11:42: [4:2] This message is 28 minutes old; it has 32 minutes left in this queue
19:11:42: [4:2] SMTP session terminated (Bytes in/out: 216/37019)
19:11:42: ----------

The administrator of this victimized server reported that they could send emails to other domestic mail servers without any problems, but experienced several strange problems while sending messages to Gmail users.

I speculate that currently the Great Firewall can intercept all server-to-sever SMTP traffic (unencrypted) between Chinese mail servers and Gmail’s servers, by filtering packet contexts according to the sensitive keywords defined by the government and then resetting the connections of suspected sessions. So the above happened, as the log recorded.

Apparently, the filtering program of the Great Firewall does not work correctly, because all the blocked mails from the above mentioned server were completely business messages. That’s why I call the server a victim.

Vista Build 5728.16387 is now available

---------- Forwarded message ----------Vista Logo
From: Microsoft Connect
Date: 25-Sep-2006 03:50
Subject: Build 5728.16387 is Now Available for Download
To: Bing Bao
Dear Bing,

We are pleased to announce the release of build 5728.16387 of Windows Vista. We have incorporated much of your RC1 feedback into this build and we ask that you install it as soon as possible and provide feedback.

Our early focus on this release will be any critical issues that prevent you from installing or running Vista as your main operating system. We ask that you file these reports as early as possible.

If you have not already done so, please obtain a product key for this build from the Microsoft Connect website. If you already have a product key for build 5342 and up you do NOT need a new one. Please download this release at your earliest opportunity; no media will be sent; this release is available as a download only. The images posted are DVD images and the recommended approach is to download and burn a DVD appropriate for your hardware.

Important notes:

* No CD images will be made available for this build.
* Only Vista is being provided today.
* Upgrades from Vista RC1 are valid.
* Upgrades from Windows XP SP2 are encouraged.

Please beware that there is a known issue with themes after an upgrade that may be visible. It may manifest itself as difficult to read windows or incorrect colors applied to windows. To ensure readability and the proper color scheme after upgrade do the following. Right click on the desktop, personalize, theme and switch to Windows Classic, apply, change back to Windows Vista and OK.

* If you have a Toshiba model M400, M4, or M5 you should choose to do a clean install as upgrades are blocked with an error.

How to get support and provide feedback:

* You can report issues by installing the Microsoft Beta Client via the link labeled "How to share feedback" provided on the Vista desktop.
* Please join your fellow beta testers, the beta team and the Windows product team in the newsgroups to get questions answered and problems solved.

The following images are available with this release:

WDK-Windows AIK
X86/X64 Symbols
Install Survey for v.5600.16384
X86/X64Language Pack - English
X86/X64 Language Pack - German
X86/64 Language Pack - Japanese

Any additions to this will be announced in the .announcements newsgroup.

We look forward to your feedback on this new build!

The Longhorn/Windows Vista Beta Team

Monday, September 18, 2006

I Love Beijing Tiananmen

"I Love Beijing Tiananmen", this is the title of a well-known Chinese nursery rhyme, especially for those people like me who born in China before 1970s. Tiananmen is a symbol for China, as the Opera House for Australia.

On 18 September 2005, one year ago today, I took the following night scene of Tiananmen while standing at the west of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. That day was also the Mid-Autumn Festival in the Chinese lunar calendar. We, two workmates and I, just flew back to Beijing from Urumqi, after attending the workgroup conference of GB/T 19668, a set of Chinese national standards specialising on auditing and monitoring information system.

Canon IXUS 50, F/4.9, 0.6 sec, Exp +2 step, ISO 50, 21:24, 18 September 2005.
mp3 download

Yesterday, as I mentioned in my last post, I took a picture of Sydney Opera House while on the Harbour Bridge. It was a coincidence that I recorded two symbolized buildings of two countries just at the beginning and the end of a one year time period.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

An alarming fire engine on George street

This test video was shot with my Canon IXUS 50 on the George street in Sydney CBD at 7:30 pm today, after I had a fast dinner at the McDonald's down the street.

The Susannah Place

What's it? Does it look like a common house in China's rural areas? :-)

In fact, it is a histoic museum, Susannah Place Museum, built in 1844, "located in the heart of The Rocks, one of Sydney's oldest areas and arguably the most appealing part of the city to tourists."

The Susannah Place 1844
Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/320 sec, ISO 50, 12:12, 17 September 2006.

I found a picture of the musuem at here. I reckon its composition and effect is much better than mine above. I will try taking another photo of the building later from the view of the Flockr one's.

Sydney CBD: Traditional vs Modern Buildings

A modern building (for lease) beside the MLC Centre at Castlereagh Street, Sydney
Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/400 sec, ISO 50, 16:20, 17 September 2006.

Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/250 sec, ISO 50, 16:23, 17 September 2006.

On the Harbour Bridge

This morning, I initially intended to go to Circular Quay by train then go to the State Library, but I got on a wrong train which stops at Millson Point after Wynyard, not Circular Quay. When I found that the train was passing over Sydney Harbour Bridge, I realized this.

I got off at the Millson Point Station. It was a very nice day. The sky was brilliantly blue. So I just walked back to Circular Quay over the Harbour Bridge, and took the following pictures:

Opera House, Circular Quay, Sydney CBD and The Rocks
Canon IXUS 50, F/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO 50, 11:53, 17 September 2006.
(Six parts of this picture available in original scale, see the links in this post)

You might have noticed that, among the several white boats roaming on the water in Sydney Cove, there is a speeding bright-yellow boat toward to the Harbour Bridge at right. It is a Yellow Water Taxi, just like those running on the water in New York Bay, New York. This kind of taxi boats is operated by Yellow Water Taxis, the "Australia's Most Experienced Water Taxi Company".

The east walkway of Sydney Harbour Bridge
Canon IXUS 50, F/5.6, 1/256 sec, ISO 50, 11:55, 17 September 2006.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A 100-word sentence without repetitive words

After betting with a chummy friend, I had to take on an impossible mission, to write a 100-word sentence in English without any repetitive words. I thought it was not possible but finally I think I have finished it! :-)

See how it is:

I just noticed, your following letter seemed to be an only e-mail in my mailbox without advertisements displayed along the right side of web page which was commonly filled with advertising titles plus relevant universal resource locators based on related keywords appearing inside its message body no matter whether readers liked such experience or not because each user belonging Gmail must have read and agreed about those usage terms, conditions then policies, including any future amendments before actually using their seemingly powerful, stable messaging system known for Google’s famous search engine that has been widely used by billion netizens every day.

The relevant criteria: One sentence, 100 non-repetitive words

Nothing is impossible, isn't it? ;-)

Friday, September 15, 2006

The beautiful Xinjiang

KANASWhere was I today in 2005? Kanas! Time flies.

Kanas is a very small town located at the most north-west corner of China, the heart of the Altay Mountains in Xinjiang Autonomic Region of the country. and bordering Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

(to be continued)

Children's fun

The following pictures and comments are from an email from a workmate, great funny. They should be originally from 来福岛 at (in Chinese).

Drunk girl


Dream of a lot pretty ladies

What a nice day! (After finished the milk)

Excellent places to hide cats

You want to attack me from my back!

Poor BB, who did this to you!

Mediation in process, no disturbance

Never buy colour pencil child

Oh, my God! I have been cloned!

Sydney buses: NOT IN SERVICE

The long bus queue at Wynyard station, Sydney CBD
Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO 50, 09:09, 15 September 2006.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sydney City Library

Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/3 sec, ISO 50, 16:18, 12 September 2006.

Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/5 sec, ISO 50, 16:24, 12 September 2006.

Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 2/5 sec, ISO 50, 17:22, 12 September 2006.

Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/13 sec, ISO 50, 17:29, 12 September 2006.

Medina Executive Sydney Central

Canon IXUS 50, F/4.9, 1/125 sec, ISO 50, 13:45, 12 September 2006.

Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO 50, 13:47, 12 September 2006.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Rain, rain, rain, all day, all week

It has been raining alot, intermittently and heavily, even under sunshine, for 10+ days... :-((

ABOMAustralian Bureau of Meteorology:
The Age:

Lotus leaf in Daming Lake

Which one do you like?

A piece of lotus leaf floating in the Daming Lake, Jinan, China
The original photo (the left one) taken by Yao, Xiang
Canon DC 40, F/2.8, 1/90 sec, ISO 100, 12:27, 9 September 2006 (Beijing Time)

A fantastic baby

An incredible accessary

Source: Big Bird's blog

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What and why is D5AA96?

In the past 3 months, the last one of the top-10 keywords that had brought visitors to my blog via Google is "D5AA96". It shows that some people are still interested in this strange string. Do you know what it is?

My blog post, Happy Birthday Apple!, has given a brief technical explanation, as well as its special meaning for me and my teenage buddies: "... and $D5AA96 header for identifying a disk sector. The $D5AA96 even became the secret code and the lingo word for us to seek for other Apple fans in the city!"

Literally, D5AA96 is a hexadecimal number. For Apple II systems, it is a three-byte header identifying the begining of a floppy sector from the raw bit stream read from the floppy surface by DOS 3.3's RWTS routine, the low-level disk driver of the Apple II+/e's operating system, to locate disk sector after addressing the start of a disk track by FFFFFF header.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Vista RC1 is now available for download

---------- Forwarded message ----------Vista Logo
From: Microsoft Connect
Date: 08-Sep-2006 04:20
Subject: RC1 is Available for Download on Connect!
To: Bing Bao
Dear Bing,

We are excited to announce that Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 is now available for testing! This build contains many changes since the beta 2 release as well as fixes to important issues you reported on the last build, 5536. We ask that you install RC1 right away and provide us with your feedback.

The images posted first will be for x86 and x64 English. Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate are all in the image and can be installed with the appropriate product key. You will not need a new key for this build. Existing beta 2 keys will work.

The following SKUs are available for download immediately. Build 5600.16384 of Longhorn server will follow next week.

To go directly to download the build use the following links:

Technical Overview Documents (RC1 v5600-16384)
Windows Vista RC1 (v5600-16384) for X86 and X64 (English)
Windows Vista RC1 (v5600-16384) for X86 and X64 Checked for Developers Only (English)
Windows Vista RC1 (v5600-16384) Tools WDK-Windows AIK-SDK (English)
Windows Vista RC1 (v5600-16384) Windows AIK (German and Japanese)
Windows Vista RC1 (v5600-16384) for X86 and X64 (German)
Windows Vista RC1 (v5600-16384) for X86 and X64 (Japanese)
Windows Vista RC1 (v5600-16384) for X86 and X64 (Arabic)
Windows Vista RC1 (v5600-16384) for X86 and X64 (Spanish)
Windows Vista RC1 (v5600-16384) for X86 and X64 (French)


We ask that you do not upgrade from any other builds besides Windows XP or Windows Vista Beta 2.

What we ask that you do with this build:

After you have had time to install and look the build over briefly, please post a short review of your observations and opinions as a reply to the thread "Post your RC1 Mini Reviews here" in the Microsoft.beta.longhorn.beta_program newsgroup. Additionally, please complete the install survey located here:

Keep in mind when burning your DVD's please do so at 1x or 2x and CRC them when done using the CRC utility posted on the Connect site. The customer experience improvement telemetry that we've been getting back on Beta 2 shows that not quite ¾ of setup failures are the result of a failure to read from the media. Testing shows that burning at slower speeds greatly increases the chances of a good burn.

The Longhorn/Windows Vista Beta Team

Thursday, September 07, 2006

One sentence, 100 non-repetitive words

After betting with a chummy friend, I have to take on a great challange, to write a 100-word sentence in English without any repetitive words! It seems to be impossible for me, right?

Here are the criteria:

1. one sentence.
2. exact 100 English words, no ANY repetition.
3. logical and understandable
4. of course, No spelling, grammar or syntax mistakes

Note: Variants of a word are considered as different words. Common words such as "the", "which" and "to" are also NOT allowed to be repetitive. Again, No ANY repetition.

Is there anyone who can do this? :-))

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Sunday Tour - Meadowbank to Bondi

The Flemington Station
Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/500 sec, ISO 50, 13:17, 3 September 2006.

A memorial fountain in Meadowbank
Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/500 sec, ISO 50, 14:09, 3 September 2006.

The Opera House from Sydney Cove
Canon IXUS 50, F/3.5, 1/640 sec, ISO 50, 16:09, 3 September 2006.

A blue glass skyscraper at Circular Quay
Canon IXUS 50, F/5.6, 1/200 sec, ISO 50, 16:22, 3 September 2006.

The Bondi Beach at sunset (the north view)
Canon IXUS 50, F/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 50, 17:22, 3 September 2006.

The Bondi Beach at sunset (the west view)
Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO 50, 17:33, 3 September 2006.

The Bondi Beach at evening (the south view)
Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1 sec, ISO 50, 18:07, 3 September 2006.

Inside the Tom Thumbs Fish & Chips and its founder Les Mill
Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1/8 sec, ISO 50, 18:37, 3 September 2006.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

At the Epping Station

EPPING2I took the picture at right at the Epping Station, in Epping, a suburb in north-west Sydney, Australia, at 21:05 on 30 August 2006. The shutter speed was 15 seconds while the aperture f-number was 2.8, all was the maximum value allowed for the compact camera which I was using, Canon IXUS 50. But I never thought that shooting this picture could cause an incident at the train station.

I attended a Microsoft user group meeting that night at Microsoft Australia, located at 1 Epping Road, North Ryde, NSW. Therefore I went to the Epping Station to take train home after the meeting. I got there at nearly 9pm. The next train was to arrive after 25 minutes, so I boringly roamed along the long, winding platform until reaching its north end.

EPPING1As shown in the photo at left I first took at the north end, the Epping Station was under construction, and it looked like being in a tunnel because of the dim rocks along the track. This gloomy scene reminded me to test my camera's low-light performance using its long time exposure mode. I noticed that there was a large, shadowy space under a construction just outside the stage end.

"That's it", I thought to myself. I simply put my IXUS 50 on the stockade enclosing the platform with lens facing the dark area, set it to self-timer mode, maximized the shutter speed to 15 seconds, and then pressed the shutter. The camera beeped while distinctly flickering in red in the dark area for 10 secs, after that it silenced for 15 secs to capture all the details as possible as it could. The heading photo is what the camera saw at that moment though I almost saw nothing except that workroom with a light at another end of the murky field.

The flashing red light was obviously noticed by the security standing in that lighting room ...

Friday, September 01, 2006

The heritage Post Office at Martin Place

The original Sydney General Post Office (GPO), built in 1887, located adjacent to the pedestrian plaza Martin Place, between George Street and Macquarie Street, alisted as one of the most significant heritage building in New South Wales, Australia, now refurbished as a Westin Hotel and Macquarie Bank office tower.

Canon IXUS 50, F/2.8, 1 sec, ISO 50, 20:42, 1 September 2006.