April 30, 2009


I have been preparing for my eight consecutive final exams these days. Therefore I probably will not be around to write articles until mid-May. If you are lucky enough not to be a college student faced with pending exams and papers (or you happen to be a genius in tackling them), you can entertain yourself by reading my past posts and other blogs listed in my Blogroll. Also try South Park if you possess the humor, starting with this one.

April 27, 2009

Use Proxy to Download Free Music

To further my post on March 30 about free music download from Google available in China, I now introduce you to a method to access these free clips using a proxy server when you are outside of China, smartly suggested by Nelson. Here is a blog post about how to set it up, and I would not repeat it. I tried with IP address (port 8080), and it worked out quite well.

Something worth noting are that you have to use a server located in China, and you also need to know Chinese to read the Google China website (I don't know whether Google Translate works well here). One last thing: Don't expect this download to be speedy.

If you would like to investigate more on how to find http/ftp music download, also watch this video on YouTube.

April 17, 2009

Firefox Personas

Persona for Firefox is an add-on to Mozilla Firefox that allows users to install light-weight themes changing instantly at the user's command. It does not change the buttons' and toolbars' shapes and arrangement but only the background picture of the interface (under the default theme). If you frequently refashion the look of your Firefox and are tired of the heavy loads many themes exert on your browser, you should give Personas a shot.

The Persona I am currently using is Firefox B created by Mozilla.

April 13, 2009

China's Human Rights Plan

China released its first national human rights action plan on Monday.

The official Xinhua news agency said: “The government admitted that ‘China has a long road ahead in its efforts to improve its human rights situation.”’

I do not know how profound this plan will eventually achieve, but the admission of China's human rights situation by the official news agency is by no doubt a great improvement.

Quotes from the Last Lecture

The Last Lecture by Prof. Randy Pausch has been a most popular book worldwide for a while, and it has excellent reasons to be so. I am glad that I took time to read it. It gave me insight into life that may take decades for me to discover myself. As it is about life in general, I would like to recommend it to everyone.

Pausch, Randy with Jeffrey Zaslow. The Last Lecture. New York: Hyperion, 2008.

Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something. (p. 79)

Want to quickly dispatch telemarketers? Hang up while you’re doing the talking and they’re listening. They’ll assume your connection went bad and they’ll move on to their next call. Want to have a short phone call with someone? Call them at 11:55 a.m., right before lunch. (p. 109-110)

Take a time out. It’s not a real vacation if you’re reading email or calling in for messages. (p. 110)

Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think. (p. 111)

If you’re putting people on the moon, you’re inspiring all of us to achieve the maximum of human potential, which is how our greatest problems will eventually be solved. (p. 133)
My remark: That is called positive externality.

Complaining does not work as a strategy. (p. 139)

Meet over a meal if you can; food softens a meeting. (p. 143)

And talking louder or faster doesn’t make your idea any better. (p. 143)

When you’re frustrated with people, when they’ve made you angry, it just may be because you haven’t given them enough time. (p. 145)

Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other. (p. 151)

Hard work is like compounded interest in the bank. The rewards build faster. (p. 156)

I’ve always admired people who are over-prepared. (p. 160)

If I do something, what’s the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? (p. 160)

Honesty is not only morally right, it’s also efficient. (p. 163)

If you can find your footing between two cultures, sometimes you can have the best of both worlds. (p. 171)

If you want something bad enough, never give up. (p. 174)

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask, and it can lead to all your dreams coming true. (p. 179)

April 11, 2009

A Socialist Party

The popularity of socialism in U.S. is growing. Maybe it's time to have a Socialist Party there.

An old lady in a park

This was my answer to an in-class descriptive writing exercise.

It is late autumn. Withered leaves depart their year-long home, jubilantly dance in the air, and silently rest themselves on the ground, paving a golden road glistening under the bright red sun, surrounding the tranquil lake in a park filled with peace.

A lady in her eighties rambles across this golden road, with the help of her cane held in hand. Her forearm trembles with her walking stick when every step is made. The fallen leaves crack under her feet, moaning to the terminal of their brief life.

The wind breezes, lifting the leaves on the ground up in the air, while pulling more away from the dry and thin branches. The breeze also dishevels the old lady’s already ill-kempt silver hair; she shivers to the unexpected coldness, as does the slack wrinkled skin on her face.

She looks up, her brown eyes filled with fatigue. Her two lips are of light pink color. They open up, and close again. The lady tightens her dark blue long-sleeve, standing still as a sculpture.

The Helios loiters to the west, the sky darkening as it goes. The surface of the lake is now as golden as the roads covered with fallen leaves. The old lady is too tired to walk any more. She finds herself sitting on a park bench glowing with its newly painted bars. She closes her eyes, and breathes deeply to smell the fragrance of the sunset. She listens, enjoying the harmonious though sorrowful symphony of the wind and leaves.

She falls into sleep, with the ever bright sun fading away from the western sky.

April 6, 2009

Swapping the Currencies

China is walking their talk. Time reports:

In the past two weeks, China signed multibillion-dollar currency-swap agreements with Indonesia and Argentina that effectively allow Beijing's two trading partners to bypass the dollar as a medium of exchange. The deals followed similar swaps China has hammered out over the past six months with Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea. The combined value of the various swaps — which enable the central banks of China's trading partners to sell yuan to local importers to buy Chinese goods — is nearly $100 billion.

However, without free trading of the yuan and fluctuations of its value, it is difficult for countries to benefit from holding the Chinese currency, hindering the government's aim to make it a world currency. The yuan still has a long way to go.

April 5, 2009

Is voice mail obsolete?

Via Marginal Revolution. For some, voice mail is losing its allure.

Well for me, I hate talking to machines. Nowadays there are so many communication devices to choose from, and if it is not an emergency, people would probably send an email or leave a text message instead. But when they think the case is important enough to be made through a phone call, a machine instead of a person answering is probably not very pleasant to most. Personally I would rather people see the missed call from me, and call me back in person (if they think I am worthy for them to do so).

Is it possible that the oil price boom caused crisis?

Why not?
And if that is the case, OPEC owes the world even more.

April 1, 2009

Dale Carnegie Workshop: Time Management

Below are notes taken on a time management workshop offered by Dale Carnegie and held by the School of Business of HKBU.

Resources: Time, Cost, Quality
Priority: Study, Family, Future Opportunities, Girl/Boyfriend etc.
Proper Planning: Direction and Perfection
  1. Define Scope: Should-be; 20% (of time)
  2. Devise Plan: Goals, Action Steps, Cost, Timetable; 50%
  3. Implement
  4. Monitor, Modify, and Loop: Implement; 3 & 4: 15%
  5. Closure
  6. Evaluate
  7. Celebrate; 5 to 7: Follow-up, Management; 15%
Get hold of your own time and your own life.

Book recommendation: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie