Thursday, August 31

About Microsoft: FUD

In ABC News, one article talks about Microsoft:
The safe choice in your IT environment has been Microsoft. That hasn't always meant it was your best technological choice, but it has repeatedly won the nod because it provides the balance between compatibility, usability, and support that most small and medium businesses crave.
I mentioned that "Microsoft is a company which can make good things perfect." It doesn't necessary be the first one to make some kind of software, but when it starts to focus in that area, other competitors must consider how to leave the market elegantly.

But, that can be some kind of FUD. In the 80s, IBM run a commercial in technical megazines and TV: If you don't know what brand to buy, you should always select IBM, because everyone knows this name. If there's anything wrong with the computer, your boss won't blame you. "No one ever got fired for buying IBM". This is the origin of FUD: Fear, Uncertanty, and Doubt. Now, the boss think Microsoft's products are good enough, so no one wants to buy any other (risky) products.

Another kind of FUD is that Microsoft always claim a new product before its release. The market of competing products will evacuate because people will stop buying those competing products when waiting for Microsoft's.

  • crave: beg, desire.
  • seamy: unpleasure. the seamy side of life.
  • impatial mediator


Friday, August 25

Tamil Tigers in Canada

Six Tamil agents in Toronto were arrested because they bought weapons to support Tamil Tiger in Sri Lanka. Tamil Tiger was a terrorism organization, because it invented suicide bomber 20 years ago. A politician said:"One time terrorist can be human right protester at another time" when he mentioned Hazbolla. That is true. Mendela was a terrorist before he was put into jail.

Is Tamil Tigers an illegal organization in Canada? After April, 2006, yes. You see? It's an arguable question, because some countries list it as terrorist group, and other countries don't. Canada's new government announced at April 10:"Tamil Tigers' repeated use of violence after signing a ceasefire agreement is unacceptable and seriously calls questions its commitment of peace process. "

According to Wikipedia, Tamil Tigers is fighting the Sri Lanca government since 1970s for the independence of Tamil region.
According to reports, some of the arrested Tamil agents were activists in Tamil Students' Associations in different universities, so the investigation in those universities has begun. There's rumos saying that some Tamil organizations collect Tamil students' donation and send to Tamil Tigers.

When I was working in Chinese Student's Association (CSSA) in University of Windsor, I saw that the Tamil Students' Association was very active in the Club Day. I actually saw Tamil Tigers sign in the Club Day. Of course, at that time, Tamil Tigers was a legal organization in Canada. But because I heard of things about it, I never talked to anyone of them.

  • concur: agree, be in agreement. Used in formal situation:"Do you concur me?"
  • intimidate: threaten, frighten.

Thursday, August 24

Canada Mad Cow Disease

A new Mad Cow Disease, AKA BSE, is found in Alberta. This is the Canada's eighth case since 2003, when the disease was found.

10 years ago, before the Mad Cow Disease was found, cows were feed with animal bone, because the bone has high protein and minerals which are important to cows' life. Now it is believed that when a cow eats cow's bone, it has higher chance to get Mad Cow Disease. So, after 1997, most countries has abandoned animal bone in cow's feed.

The seventh case of Mad Cow Disease was found in July, and it is in a 50-month-old cow, that means the cow should be feed without bone at all. So, what coused the disease? This is a big problem, because if the animal bone is not the reason, we need to find the reason somewhere else.

August 26, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said that the seventh case was likely to cause by contaminated food. So, they will track down the food, and the cattles feed by those food.

The seventh mad cow is a young cow, but the eighth is not. Experts estimated that the eighth mad cow is eight to ten years old, which means it might be feed bone before people noticed the bone problem.

  • demote: lower in rank position. antonym of promote.
  • antonym: opposite word. antonym of synonym.
  • lead time: the time interval between the initiation and completion of a process. The lead time of building a website can vary tremendously.
  • lay over: interrupt a journey temporarily. We have to lay over in LA for 1 hour. We have a layover in Chicago. Synonym of "stop over".

Wednesday, August 23

TopCoder Programming Contest

As a programmer, I take the TopCoder programming contest from time to time.

In the contest, you have 70 minutes to write programs to answer 3 questions. After that, you have 15 minutes to read other programmers' code in the same group, and challenge them, if you think their codes have bugs.
In each contest, there are 3 questions in different levels. The first one usually is only basic input/output question, and average programmer should be able to solve it in 10 minutes. The second one involves some algorithms, and you have to think about it carefully. The third one is the toughest one, and it might involve graph/tree algorithm.

Then, according to your answer and your challenge, you get points to show your talent in programming.

In the contest, when you are answering those questions, you can see what others are doing:
xxx is opening Question Two
xxx is testing Question One
xxx is submitting Question Three
Then you can feel the pressure, the heat, and the tense in the contest.


Saturday, August 19

Movie: Crash


2004年的电影Crash里许多种族的人们纠缠在一起,告诉我们许多沉重的故事,许多故事没有完结,更多问题没有答案。或者,The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.

A movie must see.

Friday, August 18

Some words I learnt today

Tackle: v, bring down.
In the Friends, the six are playing football. Monica and Ross are leaders of different teams. When Chandler is running with the ball, Monica runs to him and brings down him, then jumps up and talks to a stand-by:"Guess you do see this every day, huh?" Ross, as the leader of Chandler's, comes and asks:"What's with the tackling?"
Monica says:"I touched him and he feltfell easily."
Ross says:"You want to play tough?"
Then the scene is heated, both teams uses all the tricks to play.

Punctuation: n, The act of punctuating, the usage of punctuation mark, to mark a sentence and make the meaning clear. Punctuation marks include tilda, tick, exclamation, At sign, pound, dollar sign, percent sign, ampersand, start, perenthasis, under line, hyphen/dash, plus sign, equal, bracket, pipe sign, back slash, colon, semi colon, quote, single quote, comma, period, question mark, slash (in the order of the signs in my keyboard).

Capitol: n, The senator's house of US.

Thursday, August 17

What is Google doing?

Google announced its free Wifi network in it's hometown, Mountain View, CA.

Today, Google announced the availability of free Wifi network in Mountain View. The wireless network has been completed in June, and started testing in July. After several weeks testing, the feedback from users are positive enough to convince the company to open general access to the public. Most residences residents in the city can connect the a router close to them, and the signal will be transfered into Google, in from which company the internet provided. User has to provide a Google account to log in, to prevent spamming, according to the company.

The free Wifi connection is different from other free internet connection. Most companies provide free connection as well as fee-based connection. Actually in April Google and Earthlink announced that they would build Wifi network in San Francisco, and Google would provide free ad-subsidized internet, with 300kb/s connection speed, when Earthlink would provide higher speed internet with $20 fee every month.

Google says this free Wifi connection will "benefit both end users and business partners", and she is "open to opportunities and partnerships that have the potential to significantly improve the way people access and use the Internet, both today and in the future". Also she says it will be "a test ground for future innovations".

Can't wait for Google's future innovations! Google has the culture to encourage employees to invent something interesting. Actually, she encourages interesting things happening. Because she is rich, she doesn't care too much about money. :D
Microsoft is a company which can make good things perfect. For example, the Xerox Lab invented GUI system, and Apple implemented it in Mac, but later Microsoft's flawless Windows system turns out to be the best one. Netscape introduces Internet to everyone, but Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) gives better experience to users. It's hard to think of something that Microsoft invented, but she does make good things happen.
Google is different. Google make unexpected good things happen. Google search engine, Gmail, Google Desktop Search, Calendar...

I remember that Google bought some idle optical fibers in one city 2 years ago. The news also said there were a lot of idle fibers, in every city. What a waste! Hope Google can make full use of them, and make our life easier.

Wednesday, August 16

Planets in our Solar System

What are the planets in our Solar System?
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
(You can remember these 9 plantes by:
My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets)

Wrong answer! The International Astronomical Union found that the definition of "planet" was ambiguous, after a new asteroid was found bigger than Pluto. So, she proposed to make the definition as:
Planet is an celestial body which is heavy enough so that the self-gravity make the shape ball-like, and it should be in an orbit of a star.

By this definition, we have 12 planets now:
Ceres was found in 1801, and at that time it was announced as a planet, but be reclassified as asteroid (small celestial body) soon later. It locates in an orbit between Mars' and Jupiter's, and it's diameter is one-fourth of the Moon's, and one-third of the Pluto's.
Pluto has a brother asteroid. That is not a satellite of Pluto, because these two asteroids go around each other, like a "double star". So, we should call them "Plutos", and both of them are planets, by the new definition.
Xena, which as found in 2003 and created this discussion, is a little bit bigger than Pluto.

There are other asteroids which are not confirmed about their shape yet, but scientists warned IAU that more planets will be found, following this new definition.

Temporary, our solar system is like:
new planets
(picture from MSNBC)

Sunday, August 6









Thursday, August 3