Thursday, April 27, 2006

Girl with a Pearl Earring

I just watched a DVD movie titled "Girl with a Pearl Earring" which was borrowed from my landlord yesterday. It tells a story which happened in Holland in 1665, about the famous Dutch painter Jan Vermeer, his maid Griet who had to work to support her family at 17 years old, and the attraction then platonic love which gradually developed between them.

The cinematography of this movie looks so dreary but is well expressed indeed, particularly the lighting. After watching the film, I tried to google other works of Vermeer and found that the picture style of this film looks exactly like that of Vermeer's paintings in composition, lighting and colouring, and even the scenarios in his paintings! No wonder this is a movie about Jan Vermeer, since you are not only watching his story but also as if enjoying his paintings throughout the movie. ;-)

Jan Vermeer's brief biography and a view of several high-quality images of his artworks are available at, including the most well-known "Girl with a Pearl Earring". Another good site for viewing his paintings is There is also a Windows screen saver downloadable on the net which can demonstrate all the 36 paintings generally attributed to Vermeer.

Moreover, the actress who played Griet in the movie, Scarlett Johansson, also looked like the charming girl in the painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring" particularly her mouth, but you could still see she was a modern girl if you viewed their portraits at the same time. They had quite different expressions in their eyes. To me, it's a little bit curious how the movie's director Peter Webber found her around the world. :-)

By the way, the movie dialogues are mostly in pleasant British English. It is really not bad for me to practice English listening, hehe. :-)

Great rainbow over Sydney

It was fine drizzle yesterday afternoon in Sydney. Luckily I saw a wonderful, huge rainbow over the east of Sydney at 5 pm yesterday when I walked home along Olympic Drive after returning a few books at the Lidcombe library. Actually there were two rainbows appearing at the same time though the outer ring was not very clear and partly faded into the clouds. Anyway, it was the largest rainbow I have ever seen. It was a big pity that I could not record that fantastic view because my digital camera was not with me at that moment! :(( The Canon IXUS 50 of mine was left in China although it has been fixed after its accident at the Jinan airport while I was leaving for Australia. :-(

However, I have found a Hawaiian rainbow picture from Google Images which looks exactly similar to the view I actually saw yesterday, including the size, the shape, the rainbow and sky colours, and even the clouds, so you may see how Sydney's rainbow looked yesterday. The Hawaiian rainbow in the picture is certainly fantastic, too. I have been Hawaii but I have never seen such an amazing rainbow there. What a shame!

The Hawaiian rainbow picture was originally from

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vista Build 5365 is now available for download

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Microsoft ConnectVista Logo
Date: Apr 25, 2006 10:24 PM
Subject: Build 5365 Is Now Available for Download
To: Bing Bao
Dear Windows Beta Participant,

Windows Vista build 5365 is now available. This build is another snapshot of our progress on our way to the Beta 2 milestone and will allow you to verify fixed bugs as well as check for new regressions that may have been introduced. We need your feedback quickly so it can be evaluated for inclusion into Beta 2. ...

Build 5365 is only available in English and only the x86 and x64 Ultimate editions are being released. No other versions or images will follow for this build and build-to-build upgrades are not supported. Windows XP upgrades are not recommended at this time due to a few known issues that may prevent success. ...

Windows Server Beta Team

My revisions regarding the recent Solomon Islands riots (in italic)


In April 2006 allegations that the newly elected Prime Minister Snyder Rini had used bribes from Chinese businessmen to buy the votes of members of Parliament led to mass rioting in the capital Honiara. A deep underlying resentment against the minority Chinese business community led to much of Chinatown in the city being destroyed. Further Australian and New Zealand troops were dispatched to try and quell the unrest, after then China sent chartered aircraft to fly back hundreds of Chinese who fled the Solomon Islands to avoid the riots. The former Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza has also been accused of corruption.所罗门群岛


Friday, April 21, 2006

Several details about Hu's visit to Microsoft

1. Bill Gates welcomed Hu Jintao at Microsoft Conference Center (MSCC). It was a well-known place for me too, because I went there first every time I visited Microsoft headquarters. ;-)

2. Hu said he used Microsoft Windows every day. It should be Windows XP Professional Simplified Chinese Edition with Service Pack 2 patched. :-))

3. Gates said he was willing to provide his help to Hu any time on using Windows, probably because of the unintelligent Windows Help or Office Assistant? :-))

4. The tablet computer Hu used at Microsoft should be Lenovo ThinkPad X41, which was not only the most high-end tablet notebook in the market but also China branded.

5. Gates got old; he has been a bit balding. In comparison, Hu's hair looked still hirsute and neat, but not sure if it had been blacked or not, hehe. :-))

Hu visits the Microsoft Home of the Future (in Chinese)

Hu is hosted at an official dinner at Gates' private residence (in Chinese)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Respecting legitimate government considerations

Bill Gates touched on a range of topics during his introduction of Hu Jintao yesterday for the Chinese president's policy speech in Everett, Washington. After telling the audience about Hu's background, Gates addressed his comments specifically to Hu. Here is one excerpt from that portion of Gates' comments:

"This new era of an Internet-based economy also presents new challenges to all of us. It is my belief that industry and government around the world should work even more closely to protect the privacy and security of Internet users, and promote the exchange of ideas, while respecting legitimate government considerations."

Welcoming Remarks by Bill Gates

What were the "legitimate government considerations" Gates referred to? Did it mean Microsoft would continue to cooperate in censoring or deleting blogs that may offend the Chinese government's sensibilities, or would do even more?

As one of the Tech Gang of Four, Microsoft, with Cisco Systems, Google and Yahoo, has been criticized by some Western media and people for going along with censorship in China in similar ways.

Friday, April 14, 2006

How fast are your reactions?

Happy Good Friday!

Have you ever tried this online flash game? Great funny! You may have a try as well.

What was my best record? The average time was 0.0938 second, and I was rated as Turbo-charged cheetah! Incredible?! ;-)) See the screenshot here, no image faking, of course!

Don't you want to challenge me? Come on! ;-))

BBC online game: How fast are your reactions?
BBC > Science & Nature > Human Body & Mind > Sleep > Sheep Dash

Other mirrors:

Friday, April 07, 2006

My recent revisions at Wikipedia (in italic)


Experts-Exchange, founded in 1996, is a collaboration platform for information technology professionals, designed to address specific areas of situation-based knowledge.

The experts propose comments, and the asker is expected to select one or more comments that best solve the problem as the answer and to grade the answer for awarding the most helpful experts.

Members at Experts-Exchange sign up for a free membership and receive a limited quantity of question points that they can spend to get answers to their IT questions from other members (with 2000-4000 who are regular participants).

As of March 2006, there were over 70K experts, who actually answered or participated questions, among about 3.5 million registered members of Experts-Exchange.

Some of the members treat it as a guessing game, but there are also some top professional experts helping out.

An expert ranking system is also provided to certify the experts according to their expertise, contributions and activities.

The fans of Experts-Exchange usually call it "EE", as the nickname.

Experts-Exchange, 成立于1996年, 是一个服务于信息技术专业人员,求解特定领域之具体问题的协作平台。这是一个免费的用于咨询计算机相关问题的“求问专家”型网站,专家针对有关的问题提出建议,提问者则应选择其中最能解决问题的一个或多个建议作为答案,并对该答案评级以奖励那些最具帮助的专家。Experts-Exchange 允许成员免费注册,并分配有限的提问积分。成员付出积分提出问题,以从超过200,000的专家中获得所期望的答案。其功能通过一个交换(barter)系统来实现,以鼓励专家提供满意的答案,并累计其奖励积分。同时,该网站还提供一个专家评价系统,根据专家的能力、贡献和活动情况,对其予以认证。Experts-Exchange 的成员们通常用“EE”作为其简称。


Basically and briefly, Singlish may be considered as: English vocabulary + mixed grammars + Chinese based prominent and intonation.新加坡英语


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The 3rd time to be awarded as Microsoft MVP

Today, I just received the following email from Microsoft which advised me that I have been re-awarded as Microsoft MVP - Windows Security of 2006. This is my third time to be awarded as Microsoft MVP, since 2004.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Apr 5, 2006 1:44 AM
Subject: [MVP] 热烈祝贺!您已经获得 Microsoft MVP 奖励
To: Bing Bao
Cc: Eddie liu (MVP Lead)

亲爱的 Bing Bao,

热烈祝贺并欢迎您参与 Microsoft MVP Program!

作为本年度“最有价值专家”(Most Valuable Professional) 奖的获奖者,您成为了我们精英群体中的一员,在全球网上和网下技术社区中与他人积极分享 Microsoft 的产品和技术。Microsoft 向所有用技术帮助他人发挥潜力,从而促进社区发展的 MVP 们表示崇高的敬意。要了解有关 MVP Program 的更多信息,请访问。...

我谨代表 Microsoft 的全体同仁,感谢您为 Windows - Security 技术社区所做出的贡献。

Anthony Russell,MVP Program 经理
Eddie Liu,您的 MVP Lead

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Apple!

Yesterday, I learnt that Apple would have her 30th birthday today, 1st April 2006. Congratulations!

APPLE2I have never been a Macintosh user of Apple. I was an Apple II plus and Apple IIe user! I used Apple II computers for 3 years, from 1986 to 1988, during my study at the high school in Jinan, China. That was a fantastic period in my life; it eventually caused me to choose computer and then IT as my vocation.

I still remember a lot of operational and technical details of Apple II, such as CALL -151 for entering the monitor mode, assembling short machine-code routine at $300, $C000 segment for I/O slots, $FFFFFF sync codes in floppy tracks, 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!

In the early days after I graduated from the high school, I was really not used to working with PCs, though it seemed that a PC was more powerful, with much more memory (640KB vs 64KB), much wider screen (80-column vs 40-column) and more colours (256 vs 16), oh, and hard disk! So I later decided to write an Apple II emulator on PC, to allow me to continue my fantastic dream with Apple. After studying PC's architecture, practicing 8088 assembly language and learning MS-DOS, of course and programming and debugging my first piece of codes on PC, I finally finished my Apple II emulator and made it work! But guess what, when I actually saw the expected Apple II DOS 3.3 prompt "]" and the block cursor on the IBM-PC/AT screen, I suddenly realized that a PC was really better than an Apple II!! Haha, sounds funny? Then, I did not use my emulator any more and started my stories with PC, MS-DOS and later Windows...

Anyway, I still enjoy Apple II; I love it, till now.

BTW, now I use Michael O'Brien and Oliver Schmidt's Apple IIe Emulator on my tablet computer. It is an excellent emulator, much much better than the one of mine. :-)) This emulator is still being further developed, and is currently hosted at BerliOS and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. The CVS repository is located here: AppleWin CVS.

Sometimes, I play Lode Runner and Crossfire with my virtual Apple IIe. ;-)