Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Word About Astrology

I normally don't believe in astrology and its related methodology of horoscopes. But some of my family members and friends are truly believers in this shit. My grandma used to donate tons of food and money to a so-called "shaman" just because he was a "spiritual" leader of the local cult. Nowadays, every time I hear anyone calls themselves "spiritual" my blood boils. It's just after they mention astrology and before I land a flying elbow to their crotches.

Just today I receive an apprarently junk mail for my birth sign. Read below:

"Warm and sensitive by nature, dear Cancer, today you could be feeling especially sensual, and sex and romance are likely to be on your mind. Steamy novels and romantic movies may seem especially appealing at this time, as could inviting bedclothes and warm bubble baths. Plan a romantic evening with the special person in your life - perhaps have a special candlelight dinner at home."

Astrology signs are based off arbitrary Zodiac symbols drawn by people who also believed that light from stars come from burning chariot wheels. Do people really read this shit?

Warm and sensitive by nature, sensual? What the hell are they talking about? I am "sensitive" and "sensual" everyday! And "sex" and "romance" are on my mind all the time! Also notice how the tone is set by the use of "dear Cancer", as if some ancient sage (aka "Lord of the rings" nerds) is addressing to his old friend.

I especially like the "...could be feeling especially sensual" which appears to cover the astrologer's ass in the unlikely event that the horoscope is horse shit and has nothing to do with anyone or anything in the universe. In fact, that would constitute fraud, frankly, so thankfully they depend on the doctrine of uncertainty to protect psychics everywhere from getting malpractice lawsuits.

Have you also ever noticed how people ask for your birth sign and always say "I knew it" only after you tell them which one? That is because they are full of shit. It really doesn't matter what sign you tell them you are, they always nod with sympathy and say "yeah, you are totally a [insert an asinine symbol here], I can tell". No, you can't tell because you're an idiot. I hate it when people ask me what sign I am. You want to know what my sign is? Here:

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

German's Wonders

FIFA World Cup this time is in Germany's 12 famous metropolitan areas. Don't know what it is for other people but to me, this country resembles discipline, innovation and aggressiveness!
aggressiveness : WWI and WWII were the proof
Discipline: look at the way German soccer team plays. No wonder they're coined "German tank fleet". But that's for sport. If you happen to have a German client in your business, may god be with you, because they are very demanding customers.
Innovation: numerous ideas ranging from the most numbed-nutted ones to the brightest ones also come from the German: U-Boat, Enigma machine, relativity. Take a look at these "wonders":

The first photo is Munich Stadium for World Cup opening ceremony. And the 2nd and 3rd photos are new parking garage design from Volkswagen facility.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Important Safety Message

I just received this message today. I thought it would be helpful to pass it along. I myself sometimes have to flash the opposite drivers when I drive late at night across the cities. It's just meant to alert sleepy drivers to focus on the road. Or when you need to pass an 18-wheeler and you think that the driver can't clearly see you, you flash! I learned that from a friend who used to be a professional cross-country driver.

Here is the message

---------------Original Message------------------


Police officers working with the DARE program have issued this

Warning: If you are driving after dark and see and on-coming car with no headlights on, DO NOT FLASH YOUR LIGHTS AT THEM! This is a common Bloods member "initiation game"

That goes like this: The new gang member under initiation drives along with no headlights, and the first car to flash their headlights at him is now his "target." He is now required to turn around and chase that car hen shoot and kill every individual in the vehicle in order to complete his initiation requirements. Police Depts across the nation are being warned. Their intent is to have all the new bloods nationwide drive around on Friday and Saturday nights with their headlights off.

In order t o be accepted into the gang, they have to shoot and kill all individuals in the first auto that does a courtesy flash to warn them that their lights are off.

Make sure you share this information with all the drivers in your family! Please forward this message to all your friends And family members to inform them about this initiation ritual.

Tracy Zabel
Washington County Community Corrections
Probation/Parole Officer
14949 62nd St. N Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 430-6905 phone
(651) 430-6999 fax

Randy Cripe, Director
Elkhart County Sheriff's Department
(574) 535-6510

Be safe.

Friday, May 19, 2006

JavaOne - San Francisco - Day 4

Maybe today's agenda is about AJAX.
11 - 12 Java, Web 2.9 and Ajax
2:45 - 3:45 Dojo Framework for Ajax app
4 - 5 Smackdown for Ajax programming models and frameworks

What surprises me most is that the so-called Ajax is a set of technologies existing in the late 90's. It became a big hit when Jesse James Garrett coined it AJAX in 2005. This leads to my personal conclusion that if you want new/old technologies to soar, you need to create acronyms for them. Numerous examples include POJO, CORBA, WSDL... you name it.

This year JavaOne central talk is also about the new version of NetBeans 5.5. As far as I know, NetBeans has been loosing its market share significantly after the birth of Eclipse 2. And for now, most Java developers don't even bother trying NetBeans anymore. So to that, Sun is trying hard to convince developers about NetBeans' comeback. Every LAB, technical sessions using IDE or debugging tools have to demonstrate NetBeans. I am so disappointed.

I also learn a new experience in this JavaOne: don't set your butts in any LAB sessions. It is such a waste of time. I mean it is nearly impossible to get everybody in the same pace in lab sessions. Some guys are just to quick and finish everything just by reading the instructions while other dimwits scratching their asses, pulling hairs figuring how to use Vi to get the coding part done.
My advice is don't take labs. If you need the material just register for the labs and then come pick up CD-ROMs and books. Just don't waste your time sitting in the labs!

JavaOne after-dark bash (kinda like happy hour for nerds) this year features guys from Discovery channel 's Mythbuster, Weird science and AC/DShe. AC/Dshe concert is huge blast. They are a all-girl band play songs of AC/DC. The funny thing is when Ac/DShe starts playing, all the guys (male/female ratio in JavaOne is about 10 to 1) are drawn to those girls just like ephemeral flies into fire!

Longest line ever for the Dojo session. The line is so long that it has to end somewhere outside Moscone!!!
While waiting in the line, somebody from SCO gives me his company agenda and asks me to support SCO! Friendly reminder: SCO starts the war against Linux community when they decide to sue IBM.
That guy probably couldn't get a clue if it were pounded into his head with baseball bat! And I told him that the day I support SCO the moon will not merely turn blue but develop polkadots, and hell will freeze over so cold the "brimestone will go superconductive."

Human bowling @ after-dark bash

Mythbuster and James Gosling open the night

And here is the lovely AC/DShe band

The main vocal is so hot that evrybody takes tons of photos of her

Thursday, May 18, 2006

JavaOne - San Francisco - Day 3

Third day by far has been the most productive day in JavaOne so far for me. Getting experience from yesterday, I get up early and catch the bus to Moscone at 8:00 even though the first session starts around 9:30. I attend to 4 technical sessions, 1 lab and a bird-of-a-feather today. Three of them are presented by Joshua Bloch. His telethon includes: Effective Java Reloaded, Java Puzzler and Collections Connection (BOF).

Each session always get a huge number of attendees. Effective Java was originally held in 2 conference rooms. But as the number of people wanting to get in grows too fast, they have to extend the session to an adjacent room. Java Puzzler is even more crowded; it uses one of the largest conference room of Moscone.The one that was used on the first day for Sun's General session.

Joshua Bloch currently is Google's chief Java Architect. He wrote Effective Java which won Software Development award n 2002 and is one of the most popular Java book to this day.
After Effective Java , I get a hold of Joshua and manage to talk to him for 15 minutes asking about Google's role in Java Community process. I also make a short introduction of PROS to Joshua just in case he's interested in working for PROS :-). Josh also asks me the same question I have heard so many times: am I related to Doug Lea, the guys who wrote the concurrency package for Java Tiger? ha ha..

Here are me and Josh.

Another great session is Spring Web Flow presented by Keith Donald from Interface21. SWF is a new web application framework easing the development of dialog or wizard like web form. Keith turns out to be a nice guy and helps me answering lots of questions. Most of my questions are related to the integration of Spring Web Flow into existing, in-house, home-brew framework since we are not using any open framework like Struts or JSF. Keith doesn't actually understand how our framework works but he sure points me to a correct direction: looking at the implementation of Struts adapter for Spring web flow.

On the way back to the hotel, I get stuck in traffic because there is protest crowd against immigration going along Market street. We probably stop for about 15 minutes to let them get by.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

JavaOne - San Francisco - Day 2

Today marks the first official day of JavaOne. I wake up at 7:00, have light breakfast and walk to Moscone center. It appears to be pretty close on the map but the path actually is a two-mile lengthy road; and it takes me almost 20 minutes to get there. There is a complimentary shuttle service take attendee to the center. It doesn't stop at my hotel but Hilton which is a about 20 minutes walking distance again. I do however take the trolley to get back in the evening after the last technical session.

JavaOne this year is not very organized. This is my first time coming to the conference so I don't know how it was like last year. Lots of people complain about the waiting lines at every technical session. And I think one of the reason is because the number of attendees almost triples to the one last year.

First thing to to is to register and get some conference's material

and it gets even worse for technical session.
Yes all of the people below are waiting on a line. There is even no room to stand in the line for some sessions.

Or if you don't care about seeing the speaker, you could sit here on a bean bag and listen to the session thru telecast

Sun's General session this year is the hightlight of the day. The session is opened by the newly appointed CEO Jonathan Schwartz. The CEO is one of the youngest CEO in Sun history. He also the one of the rare CEOs who devotes his time to blog frequently.

General session this year emphasizes on the new trend of using Java technology in the future. Schwartz and Ed Zander (Motorola CEO) all talk about the future will be dominated by mobile devices. Specially Zander mentions Motorola is betting big on putting Linux and Java platform on its new devices.

Also, Schwartz announces something that Java community has been waiting for years: Sun will open source Java. Schwartz says that this is a sure thing and it is "not a 'whether' but a 'how' question."

Remember Craig McClanahan? The main guy behind Struts. I see him around noon when I am waiting to get my burger. I regret that I can't meet him and say hi because by the time I get my sandwich Craig is gone already.

A busy and tired day but it's quite an experience. I am also composing some material about what I learn from today's conference.

Monday, May 15, 2006

JavaOne - San Francisco - Day 1

I arrived at SF International airport around 16:55, took a cab to get to my hotel located somewhere on Market street. I notice that it's kind of humid and warm: something unusual in SF. Even the cab driver admits that it's so warm today.

The hotel where I stay filled with people coming for the conference. In fact, when I step up to get the key, one of the receptionist asks me if I am here for JavaOne.

Since the conference doesn't start until tomorrow morning, so I take the advantage by going around the area. One noticeable about SF downtown area is homeless people are all over the places. I even see a guy pissing right at a bus-stop. But once you get outside downtown a bit, for example to the Fisherman's Wharf, the scene gets a lot better and is populated with so many tourists.

trolley's ticket to get around SF. $1.50 for a day.
I couldn't believe SF still uses such an outdated ticketing system.
There also another subway system to get around SF called BART which I haven't had a chance to explore yet.

This is right at the Fisherman's Wharf. Across the street of this sign are numerous pavement-style restaurants serving fresh seafood.

I stop by this restaurant and decide to have dinner here: fresh grilled red snapper for $7. Nothing can beat that...

Along Embarcadero street (Fisherman's Wharf main avenue),I catch several street artists testing their skill with paintbrush on paper. I think each piece costs $

Ripley's Believe it or Not store. I just stand in front of the store and ask the cashier her consent to take this photo of a wax-figure prisoner climbing up and down a rope. At first, I thought this was real!!!

SF also has a wax museum. I sneak in and take some photos without buying any ticket!
I don't need to tell the below celebrities' names as they are so popular already.

Embarcadero street at night

Tomorrow the conference will start at 8:30. My registered session is around 11:00 but I will come early to attend Sun's General session.
Good night.. Until then sleep tight.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Bravo for Clay

My friend Clay Smith finally graduated! We were going to school together for 4 years and I got out of college before Clay did in late 2004. In today's commencement I also ran into some of my classmates which I thought they would have never got out of college. But they did. This proves that if you stick around long enough, everybody could graduate, well at least in the U.S I mean!

A friend of mine also graduated today. But he couldn't come because he is living in Boston.
So finally, the gang of four had finished their duty in college: Clay, Shane, Joseph and I.
One question remains though: is pursuing a master degree our next destination? For my part I am sure that I will go back to school sometimes next year for a master. But for now, after summer break, I will become a student again just for this class: Ruby on Rails. Two of my co-works will join me taking the class. And Clay has confirmed that he would take this class with us too.

Also Happy Mother day today. Best wishes to my lovely mom.
Some reasons why mom loves me:
When she sees me blogging, she knows that I'm not in jail :-)
I live more than 10,000 miles away
A crisp $10 bill she got for her birthday

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Drive-through ATM Instruction

Below are the drive-thru ATM instructions for each gender. And I think whoever made these instructions had gone through thorough empirical observations like I did :-)

1. Drive up to the cash machine.
2. Put down your car window.
3. Insert card into machine and enter PIN.
4. Enter amount of cash required and withdraw.
5. Retrieve card, cash and receipt.
6. Put window up.
7. Drive off.

1. Drive up to cash machine.
2. Reverse and back up the required distance to align car window with the machine.
3. Set parking brake, put the window down.
4. Find handbag, remove all contents on to passenger seat to locate card.
5. Tell person on cell phone you will call them back and hang up
6. Attempt to insert card into machine.
7. Open car door to allow easier access to machine due to its excessive distance from the car.
8. Insert card.
9. Re-insert card the right way.
10. Dig through handbag to find diary with your PIN written on the inside back page.
11. Enter PIN.
12. Press cancel and re-enter correct PIN.
13. Enter amount of cash required.
14. Check makeup in rear view mirror.
15. Retrieve cash and receipt.
16. Empty handbag again to locate wallet and place cash inside.
17. Write debit amount in check register and place receipt in back of checkbook
18. Re-check makeup.
19. Drive forward 2 feet.
20. Reverse back to cash machine.
21. Retrieve card.
22. Re-empty hand bag, locate card holder, and place card into the slot provided.
23. Give dirty look to irate male driver waiting behind you.
24. Restart stalled engine and pull off.
25. Redial person on cell phone
26. Drive for 2 to 3 miles.
27. Release Parking Brake.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Weekend Trip - part 2

Thank to a somewhat eccentric idea of Wilson and Helen (which I think stemmed from Wilson's sister), we drove 45 miles all the way to a farm in Wharton, set in the middle of "nowhere and goodbye", to pick strawberries, raspberries and peaches. I know it doesn't make any sense because you could just go to the store and buy bigger and cheaper strawberries and fruit there. But his was a fun, family-oriented activity which I encourage parents take their children to enjoy outdoor and learn something about nature.

Arriving at the "A You pick strawberry" farm

Getting buckets for the x-berry and peach. After you fill up the buckets, bring them here to check out. As I remember, a pound of strawberries is $2 and $3 for a pound of peach.

Rows of strawberry trees

Almost every tree has fruit. But these are kind of small comparing to the ones in California.

Peaches. They have about 15 rows of peaches. There are 30 trees a row. You do the math.


I'm curious to know what this strange watering system is.

This is what we have after an hour of harvesting.

Fresh fruit tasting. This is the world before Adam eats the forbidden fruit.

This is the world after he eats the fruit.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Weekend Trip

We still went go Galveston on Saturday despite of 70% chance of rain stated by the forecast. And it was raining by the time when we got there. Galveston beach was empty probably because of the weather. To my surprise, the sun appeared again in the afternoon yielding an azureous sky I'd been longing for the whole day.

What we did: riding bikes for an hour, eating tons of crawfish, trying the bike at McDonald drive-thru window.

Riding bikes: 20 dollars

Drive-thru Ice cream: 10 dollars

Fighting with Samantha over an ice cream : priceless

Monday, May 01, 2006

Jeff's Birthday Party

One word to describe Jeff's birthday party: awesome. Except for the stupid roller derby show that only a knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, dimwitted moron like me (oopse!) go to.

For those who couldn't come to the party - which happen to be re-allocated to a different location due to neighbors' complaint - here what we got:

1. Five kinds of shitty beers which ranging somewhere between sewer water and pissed water. I brought some Corona but those are considered classy, top-of-the-line items and not allowed to drink. The bad (or good for Jeff) part is that you have to go over this loop: a). Drink each beer labeled 1 to 5. b). Repeat part a until you start babbling something no one gives a damn about.
2. Live rap/hip-hop music from DJ Kate, which is a rare and unprecedented exception because most Rice students listen to the Buzz
3. Get to a roller derby game show (described above)
4. Get hammered at Baker street and then another bar across the street which I am too busted to remember.

One thing I need to point out for those folks who want to have a good time at Baker street: their chicken wings suck! I came there twice but every single time all I had were all drum sticks without even a wing. But that's ok, it's still chicken meat. What pisses me the most is thier source: not sour, not sweet but tatses like horse meat and rat testicles extract (ok, I 'm over exaggerating). And they don't have Tabasco source there!!! Dude, real men put Tabasco source on everything. Probably guys hanging out at Baker street are Tabasco hating wimps or something.
Here is what I suggest you should put Tabasco source on:
  • Everything

Thanks Jeff and see you guys again at Cinco De Mayo to drink and protest immigration bill.