Friday, October 31, 2008

registered - hk marathon 2009

Made an entry for this race - this time, full. I have never run this distance before so have to do a lot of training. Becomimg a marathon runner was my childhood dream. I want to listen to Chinese songs when I run the race. It will be a fun event.

Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2009

Thursday, October 30, 2008

bad example of OLAP

One customer uses reports generated by OLAP but as I understand more about it, they do not have any reason to do this reporting by OLAP.

  • Multi-dimentional analysis is not required for the customer (at least for now).
  • But report generation takes so much time using OLAP.
  • Transactions which fails to be linked in the fact table are very difficult to show in the final report output.

We've had so many problems with OLAP and I've had to do a lot of shirinugui. It's a pain but I need to find a way out of this situation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

south china situation

“おとり労働者”が暴く不当就労の実態 (NB online)
* You probably need a login ID to read this article.

We have quite a few clients in Huanan (华南) area and today a client with a base in the area told me the situation almost similar to this article.

  • There are many factories closing down - in many cases because of the capital flight caused by the global ecoomic crisis.
  • Therefore it's been relatively easy to find workers to hire in the area.
  • Still, the turnover rate of the client's factory is about 100%. (about the average in the region)
  • Three workers have sued the company and in each of those cases the company has paid to buy the settlement.
I am sure that the working condition in China has been changing for the better (at least in terms of workers' protection by law). The region has been known for labor intensive way of manufacturing but the situation seems to be changing quickly. We will also have to change.

star ferry

Got a chance to ride star ferry during work hours for the first time. The weather is a bit hazy but nice and comfortable.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

an idea to promote japanese language

Amongst the tools that I've tried online, they are by far the most effective for learning Mandarin.
  • There are three types of audio files available (Full Lesson, Lesson Dialogue and Audio Review)
  • Lessons are categorized into several different levels
  • Lesson contents are quite fun
  • Interactive
  • Updates are quite frequent
There are more to add to the list. And it makes me wonder if there is anything as good as this for learning Japanese. Only a portion of ChienesePod contents are free (ie. newbie and elememtary level audio), but the value it provides definitely beats the costs.

I believe two nations can build a good relationship when we share the basic communication protocol - the language. Sometimes we are so prone to be agitated by media - much more than necessary. Behind this must lie a shortage of people who can effectively communicate in the other party's language.

Japan should allocate some budget and create it's own version of ChinesePod, and make fun Japanese lessons available for the broad mass of Chinese people for free. Political topics should be avoided in lesson contents but the move to setup the channel has to be strategic.

www & paint

ノーベル賞と戦時巨大科学の暗闘(下) (NB Online)
* You need a login ID to read the article.

Interesting article though the field of physics is completely foreign to me. I was particularly intrigued at the colleration between the end of the Cold War and invention of www by CERN.

Yesterday I draw and painted out of a whim. Together with an old mooncake I'd had earlier, the smell of the paint made me feel sick so I had to rest a bit. I bought a set of cheap paint but it looks like someone had already used it. Weird.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

steps for changes

Implementing changes is difficult in our team - unfortunately, there is just no culture to encourage that. There is no structured way to discuss how to improve things. So I'm trying ot change this somewhat stale atmosphere myself.

The steps I'm taking are:

1. Setup a process that works the best for myself.
2. Find a person or two in the team who understand and can follow the process.
3. Let the process run until it becomes a habit for that small number of people.
4. When the members see the benefit of having the process, announce it to everyone in the team.

Very primitive and it also takes time. But can't find an effective way when there is no leadership expected from higher management.

Changes are not always welcomed in our team. For me it's a sign of declining organization. Changes from the top down are not to be denied, but the changes from the bottom up should be much more encouraged and there must be a team culture and an effective tool to make it possible. Without this the business cannot be fully localized. I have plans but I'm not perfectly confident at this point.

Friday, October 24, 2008

kihon & openpne

Direct communiation is the best when protocols are met between the parties.
When any of those protocols does not agree (eg. different languages, different specialities or business background) you have to have a person in the middle as an adaptor, and this person must have sufficient skills and understanding on all of those fields. Otherwise, the quality of communication can diminish tremendously.

There is no quick improvement for the language, but for other fronts I believe we can expect quite a bit of improvement by having a knowledge board tool. (Surprisingly, we do not have one in our team.) So I'm thinking to setup one using OpenPNE3, which seems planned to be released in Dec.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

cutting out

My Cantonese teacher suggested that we cut out the middleman - the language school - and I pay her directly while she continue to teach me. I think this should happen when the guy in the middle does not really add value for being in the middle. And it seems so easy for teacher and students to make this kind of arrangement.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


SyncToy v2.0

For synching folders and taking backup for Windows machines. Recommended for people who need to do a lot of synching b/w document server and local files.

Monday, October 20, 2008

chrome -> firefox

Changed my default browse back to Firefox a while ago. Chrome is fast but the reasons are:

1. Toolbar is not supported
When I serach on google, there are many times I want to adjust the searh term that I originally entered. With Chrome you have to take one extra step to get back to the google search result page to show the original search term you entered.

2. TiddlyWiki cannot be saved
Not that I'm taking notes all the time, but it's kind of pain to have to launch another browser program everytime I want to update TiddlyWiki.

Once there are solutions on above points, I may consider using Chrome again, but I guess that kind of enhancement will also have to sacrifice the performance.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

ladder street

I go for a jog when I don't have to work - so typically Sat and Sun. From Sheung Wan and Mid Levels are a number of relatively steep stairways or streets. One of them, the longest one which is right by my apartment, is Ladder Street.

I never really paid attention to the name of the street until recently, but this name sounds a bit strange. Chinese name of Ladder Street is 楼梯街. It's literal translation would be "Stairway Street" - probably not "Ladder". I wonder who gave that English name to the street and how.




Saturday, October 18, 2008

kevbo on tv

My ex-roommate made a tv debut. I'm so jealous.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

boolean search

I resumed using TiddlyWiki to manage help texts of the ERP system we are using afte finding the boolean search plugin.
I love this function. Searchability of the file has improved much with this plugin.
Permission setting of Firefox3 can be a pain, though. I don't want to use IE because it's quite heavy.

Ethiopiques is nice. I'm listening to a CD Alicia got me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

hong kong jin

As it boasts proudly, Hong Kong is one of the most internationalized cities in Asia. This is a place where it gets move than 20 mil visitors a year. I like that I get to communicate in four different languages almost everyday. I find, however, that it is sometimes difficult to get to know the local people well - some people are quite indifferent to making new friends or knowing something foreign (like myself). I think it partly comes from the fact that Hong Kong is such a small place it's easy to stay in touch with people as long as you (and they) keep living in the city. This is a great thing per se but as a natural course some people become comfortable with existing ties so stop making effort to develop new relationships. In this sense, I find people from the mainland tend to be more friendly. My hongkonger friends are quite friendly, though. I like people who like people, so it's a bit sad when I feel the kind of apathy in people (especially those in the office).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

one minute a day is never enough

I listen to the SCMP Today every morning when I walk to the office and at the end of the program is the Mandarin Minute. It's hosted by Michael of SCMP and Lanlan of Mandarinmaster(?) but everytime I listen to this part of the program I want to laugh because Michael's pronunciation is so bad and he screws up with the tones when he repeats after Lanlan. He's been in the program for a while now but I cannot see any improvement in his pronunciation, which makes me wonder why he's been hosting the show at all - if he is interested in the language and make some effort to master it, he should be making some improvement. If he is not interested in the language to the extent he does not make any progress at all in it, he should not be hosting the show in the first place because it diminishes the meaning of the show itself. But I guess it's nothing I should complain about as it's not that I'm not paying for it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

j-sox, hotpot

Visited a couple clients in Taiwan. Everyone seems to be pessimistic about economy these days. Those clients also went on with their plight. Maybe my work will slow down as well which is not totally a bad thing as I'm not too enthusiastic about increasing revenue at this point - I'm rather happy to have some time for personal use.

One client mentioned about difficulties with J-SOX. My job is not irrelevant to this matter and I once gave a bit of support to a US SOX project and also recently did some documentation for J-SOX complience for a customer. I don't know how people evaluate this kind of law or work in Japan but I haven't really seen this creating any positive effect on the company which tried to comply with it. Those documents require detailed descriptions but probably be read by auditors and only a handful of people who were involved in the project. Such a waste of time and energy. I think we should go easier on documentation and put more focus on letting important principles sink in to the people.

For lunch I had a vegetarian hotpot at a casual restaurant. I like the one-person hotpot you can get in Taiwan. I like the taste and it seems you can always have vegetarian choices. I wish we had the same thing in Hong Kong but my Hongkonger colleague said we don't get the same thing here in Hong Kong and that even if we could find that it would be pricey. I wonder why - I think it can be popular here as well.


There was one that was trying to escape from the box. I wonder what they were there for. I took this photo at a fish shop in Taipei.

veggie burger

Went up the hill in the morning. Still haven't been able to reach the top.

Went to the White Place to get a veggie burger. I crave their veggie burgers sometimes.

Still learning Linux. It takes time.

I'm just about to leave for the airport. I have a couple meetings to attend in Taiwan today. Gambarimasu.

Sunday, October 05, 2008






go veg

Seems vegetarianizm is a more responsible option though I haven't spent time to verify all those facts.
I won't hail to save the planet, but it would be nice to have more places to eat at in HK.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

which floor?

In July...

In August - yeah, it looks like the 9th floor.

In September - more assertive.

I live on the 9th floor and it's not me who has done the work.