Saturday, October 28, 2006

Truly funny radio show, a "must" for Christian!

This is the most hilarious and thoughtful Christian radio show I've heard.

if you are a Chinese, whether you're a Christian or married or not, you should take some time just to listen to it (called 猴擒定慕男).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Post-Prelude: On Improving Windows

Hazel, my girlfriend, has a 5-years-old computer that still runs Windows 2000. A month ago she realized that her anti-virus (Nod32) didn't not work on the computer anymore so she asked me to use VNC to inspect her computer. Just when she was turning on the VNC server and my client was searching for her, some freak hacked into her computer (anyone who can give me an explanation would be appreciated), and did something and the next thing she knew was, her computer downloaded some stupid spyware, and her computer was totally infested with virus. (Again Yvonne you're the expert and you are the few who still read this so maybe you can offer me an explanation). Out of despair and desperateness we decided to buy a new computer (since there was no way I could fix the computer remotely). As most of you know, Vista is supposed to come out next Jan so I asked her to wait... but she desperately needed one for her work (and honestly it was quite inconvenient for her since she needed one to make exams for her classes) so at the end we decided to buy the top HP model for $6-xxx. At the end, I agreed to her view that 1) she doesn't need an ultra-fancy OS 2) she needed a computer urgently at the time. But I was sort of worry that Vista would come out a lot quicker than I thought and they would offer free upgrade to people who buy PCs just before the deployment time.

I guess I possess certain clairvoyance in this case and MS now decides to give free Vista upgrade to whoever buy PCs after Oct 26, and we bought it during Oct 1!!!!

Were I a non-christian I would say WT_ and I guess I don't have to fill the blank but i was devastated. It means that now next time I go back to HK we probably have to buy the upgrade at Sum Tsui Po!

While I am considering mailing HP about the rip-off and ask them to offer us a free upgrade, I can only hope that one day we will have a G-indows or Win-gles or Windows G (for free and open source of course) and we don't have to spend the $5xx for a new Window upgrade.

But of course that got me into thinking HOW to actually improve my chance of buying an Authentic window for a reasonable price (and that's not happening) and I come up with a list of stuff that will make me want to buy a real Windows for around $2xx~

Well that will be served in my next post :) More to come!!!

Prelude: On Improving Windows

First of all, a bit of miscellaneous news...I was just checking my new website and realized that I have now more than 100 visits! What a surprise! Well I certainly hope that the hits will rise with the release of JayFX and ConcernMigrator. My dream, of course, is still to build a Sudoku solver using GWT since it's a pain in the ass to track all the numbers on a piece of paper and I always make a mistake. I don't think it's hard to write but I gotta have the heart to write it.

And then there are the SICP, and python waiting in the queue... Maybe I should make a priority queue on it but then everything will be assigned with High Priority!

But anyway. Well I received an email from MS telling me that I got into the second interview and they are holding it in Vancouver! That means I gotta fly to BC and possibly spend a weekend there! In a way the prospect of having a free vacation thrills me more than a possibly of working in one of the most challenging companies in the world! First of all, they hire the 3rd best (the 2nd best go probably to Google and the 1st are probably working-in/founding a start-up, or working on the P!=NP proof, or in SE domain, a new architecture that supplants J2EE), and I'm not sure if I fit into that category. Secondly there is the "Hazel's factor" and although Seattle is reasonably close to our dream destination (Van) I still don't want to shut the HK door completely. I will want to be at a place where I don't have to part with Hazel, and to go back to HK might mean a change of my career. Well again, my life belongs to God so I pray for it... God has never let me down (in long terms) so I will be where He leads me~

Anyway for the few of you who read this (probably not too many) you would wonder... how does it relate to "Improving Windows"??? Well after I received the email that was what i was thinking if I were ever asked this question during the interview. In fact I spent my morning (and during the CORBA lecture) thinking about it... maybe I should do it over my next post...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Inerrant Bible?

Is the Bible totally inerrant?
Found this post in Very interesting....I wish I had time to reply to it but Josh McDowell's book and Lee Strobel's book offer some insight: which is to say: if Bible isn't accurate then probably no other book is.

A quote that I like:
Where people go wrong is when they treat the Bible as a textbook as opposed to the source book..


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hell with J2EE!

J2ee...I gave up in you....

Ever since yesterday I have been trying to finish the J2EE tutorial in CS 529 and as of now, I think I have spent over 6 hrs just trying to create an online multitiered SuperGrocery J2EE application.

After steadfastedly following each step and double checking constantly to make sure that I didn't make anything mistake, I launched the application and here was the result:

HTTP Status 404 - /grocery/addProduct

type Status report

message /grocery/addProduct

description The requested resource (/grocery/addProduct) is not available.

Apache Tomcat/5.5.17

What an insult.

I can see why J2EE programmers are treated like pearls now in the industry. (If you go and look for a normal programmer job seems that J2EE is usually a pre-requisite) Originally I thought, "pheww...framework programming... piece of cake...can it be any harder than proving NP-equivalent?" and I was dead wrong, and paid heavily (6 futile hours). It seems more true than anytime before that hardwork DOES NOT bring your fortune.

And now I still have to finish the JayFX deliverable AND prepare for tomorrow's bible study! Man I haven't even eaten my dinner yet! And I planned to make fried rice (an extremely time-consuming process). Now maybe I'd give up and go back to eating macaroni (which I did in the afternoon already and it sucked).

But let me do comment on the tutorial though. Although the TA (I know him personally and he's a lot smarter than me so I wouldn't say his name) painstakingly developed this wonderful tutorial he left so many holes that you have to scratch your head and hope that whatever he asked you to do would lead to a success cuz if it doesn't you have NO WAY to find out what's gone wrong!

And even though now I followed the entire tutorial I still have not (xxxxxxx) clue of what J2EE is about. Anyone who can give me a tutorial which I'd be able to complete in 3 hrs (50% of the time I already spent) is certainly welcomed!!

(Well the only one I know who reads my blog is Yvonne and she'd stepped out of the dark cloud of Java programming so this plead would probably not be answered).

On the other hand, I can ask Martin tomorrow but it would expose how stupid I'm...

Anyway... so tonight I will keep reading SICP and Romans 3 (2 books that are totally irrelevant) and hopefully run some tests on JayFX. This will be the first open source product that I publish so I want to be extra careful about it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

After the interview...

I didn't realize that I haven't touched my blog for three months! My last entry was after the World Cup game when Zidane got ejected! Now it seems it happened ages ago! (And now I don't even watch soccer anymore.... not cable TV and no money)

I guess today was a bad day in a way because I didn't do much... well I knew what was going on and I attributed to the interview that I had this morning. Originally I thought the phone would arrive at 11 but after 11 passed there was no ring and I started to dread! At that time I realized that I confused the timezone: Pacific Time = 3 + Eastern Time!

So I spent the rest of the hour learning computer graphics (just wanna brush up my algorithms a bit) and then the phone call came. It didn't last as it originally said it would... only 30 min. After that I had several relevations:

1. I didn't actually work on my research project much in the last months and it made me look stupid when I didn't know what to say.

2. I wasn't too prepared so when he asked me about why I wanted to work at that place I would only give some vague answers (i.e. I wasn't very determined)

Well another interesting question that he asked was about computing 1) anagram 2) if two strings contain the same characters. Originally I had a O(n^2) answer but luckily I thought of a O(n) answer. I asked Kelvin the same question and his answer wasn't as good but still O(n)! (hahaha....) So all the CS minds who still read the blog can submit me an answer.

So... going to the second test is probably a remote dream now :'( Luckily I will have some more interview chances later. At least this one gives me a taste of what to expect!

After that, the rest of the day didn't pass so well because I was struggling with J2EE and JayFX. I finally converted JayFX to use Generics (which wasn't that technically challenging) but haven't tested it yet. The hard part will come from a throughout testing...

After dinner with Kelvin I went home and tried to organize my life again by listing some priority. I was cleaning up my McGill Outlook too and discovered an obscure link that took me to Micheal Ernst and his students' pages at MIT. I was checking out their sites and noticed a big gap between me and them.

The big gap: they blog!!! And they don't make stupid blogs but technical blogs! Me??? I only watch Doraemon from youtube nowadays.

Surprising? But it tells you that if you are passionate about technology you would be using it! Me? Haha....what would a person as lazy as me do anything? But if you read Steve Yegge he also has some good reasons why one should blog.

Without being more and more self-disparaging I decided to pick up on blog again. Of course I'm still a bit far from being able to write technical blog but I will add bits and pieces of that here :)

Here I come!